September 27, 2022


Gets In Done On Time

Kazuo Shinohara’s reconstructed Umbrella House debuts at Vitra

When imperiled by a Tokyo roadway project, an important early get the job done of celebrated postwar Japanese architect Kazuo Shinohara is now on general public look at at Vitra’s company campus-slash-architecture park in Weil Am Rhein, Germany, around the Swiss city of Basel. The unveiling of the modest timber home, done in 1961 and recognized as Umbrella Property, follows a meticulous disassembly and reconstruction work led by the venerable Swiss household furniture maker in collaboration with the Tokyo Institute of Technological innovation (Shinohara’s alma mater) that very first kicked off in September 2021.

Umbrella Residence is the third historic composition to be re-homed at the Vitra Campus, signing up for a 1953 fuel station by Jean Prouvé (set up in 2003) and a 1975 modified geodesic dome construction intended for Charter Industries by Thomas C. Howard in collaboration with Buckminster Fuller (put in in 2000). Present-day buildings on Vitra’s sprawling Weil Am Rheim compound include things like, amongst others, Herzog & de Meuron’s VitraHaus, Frank Gehry’s Vitra Style and design Museum, Taodo Ando’s Meeting Pavilion, and factory properties from Álvaro Siza, SANAA, Nicholas Grimshaw, and Gehry. Other campus highlights contain a Jasper Morrison-made bus end, Zaha Hadid’s fire station, Carsten Höller’s Vitra Slide Tower, and a trove of scaled-down buildings and installations designed by the likes of Thomas Schütte, Tobias Rehberge, Renzo Piano Workshop, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, and many others.

(© Vitra/Dejan Jovanovic)

As for Umbrella Home, it has been rebuilt off Charles-Eames Strasse around Prouvé’s fuel station and a backyard garden created by Piet Oudolf that opened to the community last summer season. Shifting forward, the compact wooden construction will serve as a location for intimate gatherings.

As thorough in a press announcement unveiling the new addition to the Vitra Campus, Umbrella Property was crafted applying picket post-and-beam approaches with Japanese cypress, Japanese Pine, and Oregon pine and capabilities a pyramidic roof framework that references conventional temple architecture in Japan. Lauded by Vitra as a “masterpiece” of Shinohara’s Initial Type, the cement fiberboard-clad Umbrella Property is noteworthy for melding motifs connected with vernacular Japanese architecture with very low-charge and easily accessible elements. This solution to household architecture, as pointed out by Vitra, “made a novel and inspirational contribution to the architectural discourse of 1960s Japan.”

In an Oct 1962 version of Japanese architecture journal Shinkenchiku Shinohara discussed: “The power of my conviction that ‘A Dwelling is a Work of Art’ was born of the battle with this smaller residence. I wished to specific the pressure of place contained in the doma (earthen-ground room) of an old Japanese farmhouse, this time by means of the geometric structural layout of a karakasa (oiled-paper Japanese umbrella).”

a midcentury japanese home topped with an umbrella-like roof
Umbrella Residence pictured in Tokyo, circa 1963-1964 (© Akio Kawasumi)

Made in Tokyo’s mostly household Nerima community as the smallest of Shinohara’s 1st Model abodes (its whole flooring region is just underneath 600 square toes), Umbrella Household was slated to be demolished to make way for a new street right until Vitra stepped in. The framework was painstakingly deconstructed in the summer months of 2020 and its personal parts were subsequently transported to Weil Am Rhein for reassembly. Inside highlights of the house include five fusama (sliding doors) separating the key residing area from the tatami area adorned with prints by Japanese artist Setsu Asakura. The home also capabilities a rest room, little kitchen, and lofted storage spot in the tatami room. The furnishings ended up built by Shinohara and designer Katsuhiko Shiraishi. The reconstructed Umbrella Property features a mix of authentic furnishings and replicas.

“It can make sense to shift a creating if its construction quickly will allow this, and of study course it ought to in good shape into the context of the new location” explained Rolf Fehlbaum, Chairman Emeritus of Vitra, in a assertion. “The Umbrella Property fulfills each conditions: it is somewhat easy to relocate and it connects with the robust Japanese presence—Tadao Ando, SANAA and quickly Tsuyoshi Tane—on the Vitra Campus.”

The broadly influential Shinohara was energetic as an architect up right until his death in 2006 at the age of 81. In 2010, he was posthumously awarded the Golden Lion at the 12th Architecture Biennale in Venice. Additional facts on the Umbrella House can be discovered right here.