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Category Archives: house



“Arakawa and Madeline Gins’s quest to make human beings immortal is at risk of dying. That’s because the couple lost their life savings with Bernard Madoff, the mastermind of a multibillion-dollar fraud. Of all the dreams that were crushed by Mr. Madoff’s crime, perhaps none was more unusual than this duo’s of achieving everlasting life through architecture. Mr. Arakawa (he uses only his last name) and Ms. Gins design structures they say can enable inhabitants to “counteract the usual human destiny of having to die.”

The income from their investments with Mr. Madoff helped fund their research and experimental work. Now, Mr. Arakawa, 72 years old, and Ms. Gins, 67, are strapped for cash. They closed their Manhattan office and laid off five employees. The pair’s work, based loosely on a movement known as “transhumanism,” is premised on the idea that people degenerate and die in part because they live in spaces that are too comfortable. The artists’ solution: construct abodes that leave people disoriented, challenged and feeling anything but comfortable.They build buildings with no doors inside. They place rooms far apart. They put windows near the ceiling or near the floor. Between rooms are sloping, bumpy moonscape-like floors designed to throw occupants off balance.

(cbc) – so if you are an architecture student and you’re having a bad jury or crit just adopt Arakawa’s argument  “I’m making it really ugly and jarring because this approach can make the occupants immortal!”  

On the other hand, the RUSSIAN FORMALISTS (Viktor Schlovsky)  had a dictum “make the object strange” that they used as a definition for art.   The idea being that a displacement from the everyday “sleep” of the conventional world is necessary to have an aesthetic experience.


Forget the house – I want the CAR.


This jacuzzi seems somewhat exposed to the neighbors, but, after all, its in Belgium, the owners are EUROPEAN.

This house has a very clear organization.  Each of the 4 floors is devoted to one and only one specific function.


Torunobu Fujimoro designed this Tea House in Chino, Nagano Prefecture, Japan



This house addition is completely underground to avoid needing the permission of neighbors.  The underground addition has 3 bedrooms for the kids plus a movie theatre.   A cool feature is a large slide that allows the kids to access their rooms without using stairs or going through the main part of the house.


The skin is “fiber-reinforced polymer sheet”.   The structural ribs are laser-cut steel. 

This house is in the Shibuya District in Tokyo.  The architects felt they needed a strong form in this particular location to prevent the house from being “swallowed up” by its surroundings over time.

One wonders what the interior space would be like with furniture ….  the interior does seem to be compromised.

Also, how is the physical security?  How difficult is it to cut into the exterior skin?   How is the insulation value?


 A residential design in Japan – 3 stories on a very small lot.  The architects achieve innovation within a simple rectangular box form.   As the linked site says, there is no need for the formal gymnastics of a Hadid, Koolhaas, or Libeskind here.


The author of the linked blog post makes some interesting observations about this house in Japan.  First, the house is so precise you can’t tell if the images are actual photos or renderings.  This is the hyperreality we are living in – one cannot tell if an image is real or simulation any longer.  I’ve had clients think photos are renderings!   The house takes on the character therefore of a “non-place”.

It is impossible to tell how the fencing is detailed.  It is reduced to simple vertical lines.  Both the exterior and interior make use of “folding” planes.

Design by Kubota Architects.