As Japan rallies to recover from the devastation wrought by the March 11 earthquake and grapples with the threat of nuclear meltdown, it might be too soon to start the rebuilding effort, but there are plenty of contemporary Japanese architects with the skill and ingenuity to create uplifting replacements for lost homes and businesses. We've culled five of the finest examples of recent Japanese architecture to get those creative juices flowing again. Up first is the Moriyama House (above), designed by the office of Ryue Nishizawa. Built as a "village" of small structures each containing a room from a typical house, the Moriyama House is home to Mr. Moriyama and six tenants, each alotted a sleeping room but sharing common spaces. The efficient use of space common to Tokyo housing is made glamorous by broad planes of glass and clean white color scheme—which is probably what attracted the attention of Dwell.
? Junya Ishigami previously worked alongside Ryue Nishizawa in the office of SANAA—the architecture firm behind NYC's New Museum—and produced several similarly airy residences under their auspices. After moving out on his own, Ishigami has developed a reputation as a brash upstart with a flair for the controversial. This 2007 creation, a pavilion for the Kanagawa Institute of Technology, is remarkable for its unrelenting glass facade, stealthy support structure, and steel roof.
? The Ring House might have an unfortunate name for those familiar with popular horror flicks, but the extraterrestrial appearance of this dwelling—designed by TNA Architects—more than makes up for the muddled title. Consisting of alternating bands of glass and wood, the structure brings the outside in while incorporating elements of traditional Japanese architecture.
? TNA also designed a block of townhouses, dubbed Forest Side. The monolithic structure is split on the interior into triplexes that take advantage of the walls of glass. Highlights include the open stair treads, abundant use of wood, and the louvered shade system on the exterior.
? The Mania House is a product of Alphaville Architects, who converted a former restaurant into this sleek living space. The street-side facade is constructed of corrugated glass, which allows for privacy while also permitting the maximum amount of light to pass through. At night this turns the house into a stunning lantern, while a second layer in milky, tinted glass provides additional privacy to the bedroom at the rear of the house.
· Building Blocks [Dwell]
· Junya Ishigami [Wallpaper]
· Ring House [TNA]
· Forest Side [TNA]
· Mania House [Alphaville Architecture]