Kunio Maekawa was a Japanese architect especially known for the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan building, and a key figure of modern Japanese architecture. Kunio Maekawa (°Niigata, 14 May – †Tokyo, 26 June ) was a Japanese architect and a key figure of modern Japanese architecture. Kunio Mayekawa. English: House of Kunio Maekawa. Modern movement house in Tokyo, Japan. At the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum. 日本語.

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Prominent among modern Japanese architects, Kunio Maekawa served an apprenticeship in France during the s. Well-known for his use of architectural concrete, his post- World War II contributions included designs for prefabricated structures and high-rise apartments.

The eldest of three children, he was well bred; the families of both of his parents were descended from the Samurai. His father, Kan’ichi Maekawa, was descended from the Ii clan of Omi. A civil engineer by profession, Kan’ichi worked in the Japanese Home Ministry, eventually becoming a high-ranking official, called chokuninkan, imperial appointee. His mother, of the Kujio clan of Hirosaki, was a daughter of Konroku Tanaka.

The family lived in a wooden house in the snow country of Niigata before moving to Tokyo’s Hongo district. Maekawa attended elite schools and completed Tokyo First Middle School inafter skipping the fifth year.

Category:House of Kunio Maekawa

In he enrolled at the First Higher School, graduating in Clearly talented, Maekawa studied architecture at Tokyo Imperial Maekaqa from to There he developed into an avid reader of French architectural publications.

In March Maekawa wrote his university graduation paper on the Swiss modernist architect, Charles Edouard Jeanneret, most commonly known as Le Corbusier. For his final project Maekawa submitted a futuristic design for a ten-kilowatt radio station.

It was a new concept in Tokyo, where radio was a new technology that had been introduced only three years prior in Immediately after his graduation ceremony on March 31,Maekawa left for Paris under an arrangement orchestrated by his mother’s brother, Naotake Sato, who was a member of the Japanese foreign service.

Sato was stationed in Paris at that time and opened his home to Maekawa who arrived in the city on April Under the arrangement, Maekawa went to work for Le Corbusier kjnio Paris, entering the architectural office as an unpaid draftsman, as was customary for newcomers to the prestigious firm.

Already infatuated with the European modernist movement, Maekawa’s association with Le Corbusier proved to be an unparalleled opportunity to work with many prominent avant-garde designers. Maekawa held his own intrinsic affection for many aspects of the modernist movement in his native Japanese, and this two-year mekawa in Paris fueled his interest.

File:House-Kunio-Maekawajpg – Wikimedia Commons

Apart from his obligations to Le Corbusier, Maekawa entered various design competitions independently. Individually he submitted a design for the Nagoya City Hall, but it was not one of his strongest works. Some said that the entry resembled a parking garage because of the structure’s prominent side wings, which indeed served as covered parking areas.

Additionally he joined with two of his Paris colleagues, Ernest Weissmann and Maeoawa Rice, in entering a competition for the design of a public office building in Zagreb, Croatia, in After his return to Japan, in the fall of four of Maekawa’s independent designs were included in a Tokyo exhibition, and in December of that year, three of Maekawa’s designs were featured in the Japanese publication Kokusai kenchiku.

Maekawa departed Paris on April 6,traveling through Moscow and arriving in Tokyo on April 16, coincidental with Le Corbusier’s emergence among the architectural community of Japan. Japan during the years following World War I remained in a period known as Meiji Restoration that was characterized by kunioo revival of traditional architectural styles.


These traditional styles were tempered however by the use of ,aekawa, alternate building materials. This intervention by San was especially fortuitous for Maekawa because architectural commissions at that time were in great scarcity. Antonin, however, was involved in the design of the Imperial Hotel. As a member of Raymond’s firm, Maekawa served as architect-in-charge for the Viscount Soma residence. In this instance he applied an oblong, horizontal design reminiscent of a residential villa design by Le Corbusier from the s.

From to Maekawa worked in his first independent maekaaa, for a Kimura Manufacturing research facility in Hirosaki. This research structure has since been altered and re-adapted to other uses, and the oblong housing design of Viscount Soma, enhanced by a roof garden, was seen again in the design of the Akaboshi Tetsuma housing project in jaekawa Still working munio a project team member for Raymond in the early s, Maekawa in left that firm and established kinio own company out of a home office; he later moved the operation to the Ginza in Tokyo.

Among their earliest projects were Hinomoto Hall of maemawa Maekawa’s design for the Memorial Hall to the Founding of the Nation competition. The use of architectural concrete, extremely large panes of glass, and cast-in-place ceramic tiles characterized much of Maekawa’s work during this period.

Having learned the use of these new construction materials from Raymond, Maekawa by the s had matured in his use of ceramic tile work, and it had become a signature characteristic of his designs. Although a dearth of commissions characterized the decade of the s, Maekawa maintained solvency, in part with the release by his father of a trust fund that was earmarked for Maekawa to purchase his first residence.

In he designed two houses for Sato, including kkunio main residence maekzwa Tokyo and a vacation house in Karuizawa. These structures, along with a third residential design for another member of the Foreign Ministry, aspire to the modern style through the use of overlapping roof segments that create an interplay between planes, while maintaining an overall appearance in the traditional style.

Maekawa’s largest single project during this pre-war period was the employee dormitories for Kako Commercial Bank in For this he opened a satellite office near the project site in Shanghai.

Also ongoing from to was a project to build three technical schools for mining and manufacturing in the state of Manchuria.

It was common practice that contract awards were driven largely through political clout, and designs were subject to the kaekawa of politicians accordingly. Despite his distaste for the design limitations inherent in this system, ,unio was nevertheless fortunate to be well connected and able to secure contracts as a result.

With the expansion of World War II during the s Maekawa’s ability to procure contracts was limited largely to military projects.

Functionality and cost constraints were the main consideration for these projects, with uninspired aesthetics that deferred to technical expertise. When this first Tokyo office was destroyed during an air raid in Mayhe kumio again to a headquarters in maekzwa home in Meguro.

There he operated with a skeleton staff because many of his associates by that maemawa had left for the military. In the wake of losing his office, this publication had the effect for Maekawa of providing closure to the wartime and postwar eras. In Maekawa designed the first branch of the Kinokuniya Bookstore. Built in Shinjuku, Tokyo, it was the first of 30 projects that he would complete for that vendor. A Keio University Hospital project in Tokyo lasted from toand in he began publication of a new magazine called Plan.

Two issues were published in all.

Having survived the difficult war years, Maekawa focused on the mass production of prefabricated structures and did considerable writing on that topic. He took his inspiration in part from Henry Ford ‘s assembly line theories of mass production for making products accessible to the less wealthy working class.


At Maekawa’s suggestion the Manchurian plant at Kayama in Tottori—called San’in Manufacturing—was converted by its parent company, Nissan Heavy Industries, to a construction facility for housing components. The first units became a club for the soldiers in occupied Tottori. Other PREMOS units were adapted as housing for railroad workers in Shimonoseki, and one became a coffeehouse in the Ginza; some were used as kunoi homes.

Eventually an maekaaa community was planned for the miners at Kokkaido, the site of the Kayanuma mine. After five years, 1, units had been manufactured, but the PREMOS project came to an end for lack of cost effectiveness.

It was nonetheless the prototype for Japan’s great third millennium prefab industry, the largest and most sophisticated industry of its type in the world.

Kunio Maekawa |

Among Maekawa’s more significant structures, the Harumi Flats apartment project in Tokyo in represents on of the earliest high-rise apartment buildings in Japan. Harumi Flats, with its strong use of vertical lines, receding and projecting planes, and sculpted units on the roof, is based closely in a Le Corbusier design. Recognized as Maekawa’s grandest and best known work, the Festival Hall has been praised for the humanism that finds expression in Maekawa’s various choices of materials such as the dramatic use of marble sheeting on the interior walls.

Overall the design pays tribute to rural Japan and draws inspiration from the classic minka farm house structure. The influence of Le Corbusier on Maekawa was seen again uknio the roof sculptures, ramping, and pyramid forms of his design for the Gakushuin University Library building inthe second of two buildings that he designed at that school, beginning in Maekawa’s designs were seen in the Japanese pavilion at the World’s Fair at Brussels in and again in New York City in to He contributed a number of articles to literary journals in French, English, and German during the s maekaawa s.

Many of the later designs that are attributed to Maekawa were overseen largely by the younger associates of his firm. Altherr, Alfred, Three Japanese Architects: Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia.

1942 – Maekawa House – Kunio Maekawa

Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. Maekawa, Kunio or Mayekawa, Kunio — He worked for Le Corbusier and Raymond before setting up on his maekasa in He brought International Modernism to Japanand was a pioneer there of reinforced-concrete construction, prompted by the ideas of Nervi.

His work was strongly modelled, including Kyoto Cultural Hall —60 and Tokyo Metropolitan Festival Hall —61and influenced later generations including Tange. Altherr ; Kalman ; Lampugnani ed. Reynolds ; van Vynckt ed. Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article. Kunio Maekawa Prominent among modern Japanese architects, Kunio Maekawa served an apprenticeship in France during the s. Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. Modern Language Association http: Kuniio Altherr ; Kalman ; Lampugnani ed.