Removing what isn’t there (how to find the works of Sou Fujimoto) 「場所藤本壮介-house」

My interest in locating the works of architect Sou Fujimoto 藤本壮介 has developed into a minor obsession. It’s a perfect combination of my interests: architecture, internet search challenges, and Tokyo/Japan geography. It’s also very satisfying to see traffic on my blog related to Fujimoto. Two of my most popular posts are:

As I’ve remarked before, it can be surprisingly difficult to locate the addresses of private homes in Japan, even for architecturally significant works. I’ve never known if this is due to Japanese law or merely the result of cultural norms. I feel obliged to play by these rules, but I don’t mind sharing hints on how I located Fujimoto’s works.

My approach to finding the works of Sou Fujimoto is similar to the supposed quote by Michelangelo regarding how he created his masterpiece David,

“It is easy. You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.”

When I searched for House H, I started with all of Tokyo, then removed all parts of the city that don’t contain the house. For instance, it is blatantly obvious that House H is not located in Koto-ku. Of course, it’s not so simple. Once I remove large chunks of the city, I still need help in finding the specific chome 丁目, street, and house. A complete list of Sou Fujimoto’s works is at the bottom of this post.

Here are the buildings that I’ve located, listed in a somewhat chronological and order:

I. Three buildings (and one more) in Hokkaido

The following four works are fairly easy to find, since they are medical facilities. I’m not linking to the exact addresses out of partial respect to the patients. (Full respect would be to NOT snoop on them with Google maps).

Three of the works are clustered on the same site in Date-shi Hokkaido 北海道伊達市:

  • Dormitory for the Mentally-Disabled 「伊達の援護寮」
  • Children’s Centre for Psychiatric Rehabilitation 情緒障害児短期治療施設
  • 7/2 House

In the photo below (top left), the Children’s Centre for Psychiatric Rehabilitation is the large cluster in the middle of the frame; the 7/2 House is the thin white line at the top, adjacent to the parking lot. The Dormitory for the Mentally-Disabled is the uneven cluster in the middle of the photo, below right. All three buildings are seen together in the bottom photo (rotated, with north at the left).

The fourth work in Hokkaido is:

  • Group Home in Noboribetsu 藤本壮介

This structure is seen from the street (below, left), and from above, next to the Iburi Horobetsugawa river 胆振幌別川. The building is indicated with a yellow star.

II. Easy prey

The following two works were easy to find, as their addresses were already posted on the internet:

  • T house (or House T) (Maebashi, Gunma 前橋市群馬) (photo) (photo) (map)
  • Tokyo Apartment (Itabashi-ku, Tokyo) (map)
  • Musashino Art University Library and Museum renovation 武蔵野美術大学図書館と美術館改修 (map)

I recently saw a flyer for an event at T house, sponsored by 「場所T-house」, the “Where T-house” committee. A flyer for the event, which was tweeted by Sou Fujimoto @soufujimoto, includes a map of the house (that’s the Ryōmō Line 両毛線 at the bottom of the map, with JR Maebashi station 前橋駅 at bottom right). The event includes work by Kyotaro Hakamada 袴田京太朗, a noted sculptor 彫刻家. Because the location has been publicized, I don’t mind sharing the address here: 〒371-0025 前橋市 紅雲町 2ー15ー6 / Kouncho, Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture 371-0025 (map).

Tokyo Apartment 「東京アパートメント」 (photos) is small apartment building that currently offers a collective housing experience. Its seldom-used Twitter@TokyoAp profile says the following:

新しい集合住宅の形をプロデュースするTokyoApartment。この家を通じて、入居者の方と一緒に生活を楽しめるコミュニティを作りたいと考えています。

We want to produce new forms of collective housing with TokyoApartment. Through this house, and we would like to create a community where you can enjoy a life together with people of tenants.

The building’s address is published on its webpage and Facebook page: 板橋区小茂根2-14-15 Itabashi Komone 2-14-15 (map). The pictures below are (1) the building in 2015, (2) a “For Rent” at the entrance, (3) Tokyo Apartment during construction in 2009, and (4) the building from above (north is at bottom).

Musashino Art University Library and Museum is in Tokyo’s Kodaira City, on the north banks of the Tamagawa josui canal 玉川上水, halfway between Higashiyamatoshi Station 東大和市駅 and Takanodai Station 鷹の台駅 (map). The library is a work performed on a much larger scale than Fujimoto’s other projects (photosphotos). The best part about stalking this library on Google maps is that we can stare back at the Streetview camera, since the library’s exterior is a wall of glass:

III. O H N NA

These are from Fujimoto’s alphabet soup of works, each of which I’ve located:

  • House O (Tateyama, Chiba 館山市、千葉県)
  • House H (Tokyo)
  • House N (Oita 大分市)
  • House NA (Tokyo)

House O, sometimes called “Pacific House” for its view of the ocean, is an easy find if you are willing to patiently scan the rocky coastline of Tateyama, Chiba (photos) (Twitter).

House H was not easy to find. I’ve written about it in “A wild Sou Fujimoto chase 藤本壮介めぐる冒険 (House H)

I dragged my feet looking for House N because I know nothing about Oita city. Fortunately, a photo in the linked article provides a great clue: the name of a local business seen in the distance (approx. 1.5 km away).

After locating the business, I worked my way back to the source of the photo and House N. Here’s what I found:

House NA is the work that sparked my interest in Fujimoto. See “House NA”, Tokyo’s hide-and-go-see-through glass house“.

IV. Bridging the gap

The following works were located with help from other blogs and websites:

  • Final Wooden House くまもとアートポリス「次世代モクバン」  (2006-2008 , Kumamoto 熊本県)
  • House before House (2007-2008, Utsunomiya, Tochigi 栃木県宇都宮市)

Final Wooden House 「次世代モクバン」

Occasionally nicknamed “Jenga house”, this work’s full name is Kyusendo holiday village bungalow 球泉洞休暇村バンガロー「次世代モクバン」, a.k.a “Next Generation Mokuban”.  The katakana word モクバン MOKUBAN is derived from 木版 (mokuhan), meaning “woodblock” or “wooden house”. The work is located in Kuma-gun Kuma village Kanze 球磨郡球磨村神瀬, a cluster of bungalows in a beautiful, deep river valley (photos, photos). The key to locating this structure is the following photograph, which shows a suspension bridge and domed-shape building in the background (that’s the Kyusendo Forest Museum 球泉洞森林館 in Kumamoto). Source: http://iwan.com

Because this work was part of the Kumamoto Artopolis  KAP くまもとアートポリス, a public exhibition, I feel comfortable sharing the exact location, which is Ashikita 芦北町, Kumamoto Prefecture 熊本県 in Kyushu, just 1 km north of Kyusendo Station 球泉洞駅 (map).

I learned that House before House is located adjacent to House Utsunomiya 宇都宮のハウス by Taira Nishizawa 西沢大良 (photos), as part of the SUMIKA Project スミカプロジェクト. I then found a blog that mentioned the chome in which “House Utsunomiya” is located. Using photos and the site plan, it was then easy to find House before House (photos). Here it is:

V. Puzzles yet to solve

There are three Sou Fujimoto structures I have yet to locate:

  • House OM (2007-2010, Yokohama 横浜市)
  • House K (2011-2013, Nishinomiya, Hyogo 西宮市、兵庫県)
  • Forest house of 2013 Seto – Setouchi region せとの森住宅 – 瀬戸内地方

House OM should be doable, based on the following photographs. Unfortunately, my intuitive grasp of Yokohama isn’t strong enough to narrow down the location substantially, so I anticipate a fair amount of trial-and-error. The attached pic (link) is also a good view.

House K is in Nishinomiya, Hyogo, between Osaka and Kobe. The following picture offers many good clues, but it will take some time to locate the building: Source: http://www.architecturalrecord.com

House-K-Sou-Fujimoto-Architects Nishinomiya

I suspect it won’t be hard to locate The Seto Forest Houses せとの森住宅 Setonomori Houses, given the sheer number of them and size of the site. However, I’ll refrain from posting the address, echoing the notice on the Hiroshima Architectural Map webpage:

[Note] this work is the active service of the house. Do not intrude on the premises is carrying tour, also, thank you enough attention to privacy, etc. so as not to inconvenience residents.

Sou Fujimoto Setonomori Forest houses

SUMMARY

That is all that I know. As a recap, here is the (more or less) complete list of Sou Fujimoto’s built work in Japan, per Wikipedia and other sources:

  • Dormitory for the Mentally-Disabled 「伊達の援護寮」 (2003, Hokkaidō, Date City 北海道伊達市) (photos)
  • Children’s Centre for Psychiatric Rehabilitation 情緒障害児短期治療施設 (2006, Hokkaidō, Date City 北海道伊達市) (photos)
  • 7/2 House (2006, Hokkaidō, Date City 北海道伊達市) (photos) (map)

Note: the above three structures are located close to each other)

  • House T (2005, Maebashi, Gunma 前橋市群馬) (photo)
  • Group Home in Noboribetsu (2006, Noboribetsu, Hokkaido) (photos, photos)
  • Tokyo Apartment (2006-2010, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo) (photos)
  • House O (2007, Tateyama, Chiba 館山市、千葉県)
  • House H (2007-2009, Tokyo)
  • House N (2006-2008, Oita 大分市)
  • Final Wooden House くまもとアートポリス「次世代モクバン」  (2006-2008 , Kumamoto 熊本県)
  • House before House (2007-2008, Utsunomiya, Tochigi 栃木県宇都宮市)
  • Musashino Art University Library and Museum renovation 武蔵野美術大学図書館と美術館改修 (2007-2010, Kodaira 小平市)
  • House OM (2007-2010, Yokohama 横浜市)
  • House NA (2011, Tokyo)
  • House K (2011-2013, Nishinomiya, Hyogo 西宮市、兵庫県)
  • Seto Forest Houses せとの森住宅 / Setonomori Houses (Setouchi region 瀬戸内地方)
  • SPECIAL PROJECT: 「世界一大きなトイレ」 World’s big toilet

The following is an incomplete list of unbuilt works in Japan, as well as works outside of Japan (see also the following site for a list)

  • Primitive Future House – 2001 (photo) – a model shown at Venice Architecture Biennale 2010 (source)
  • Atelier House (2005-2007, Hokkaido) (conceptual, probably) (photo)
  • Garden House (2008, Tochigi 栃木県) (this may only be a concept; I’ve only seen pictures of the model, not the built structure) (photo)(Twitter)
  • Taiwan tower, Taiwan Taichung City 台湾塔 – 台湾台中市  (2011) (“Mayor pulls plug on Sou Fujimoto’s Taiwan Tower over safety and cost concerns“, dezeen, 20 January, 2015)
  • Serpentine Gallery Pavilion サーペンタイン・ギャラリー・パビリオン (2013, London ロンドン) (photos)
  • Taiwan Cafe (link)
  • Beton hala waterfront centre (Belgrade, Serbia) (link)
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4 comments

    • On the upper right of the reference photo you’ll see a large yellow building with a square white sign with a red logo. This is ヤマダ電機 テックランド大分本店, which is located about a mile away.

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