House in Yokohama / Kazuo Shinohara

This  house in Yokohama designed and built by the Japanese architect Kazuo Shinohara (1925 – 2006) still stands out as a landmark to his long lasting architectural convictions.

Yokohama house by Kazuo Shinohara technical information

It is hugely important to understand the process of designing a tiny work. On the one hand, there are so many tall buildings around us, such as in Shinjuku, but they possess no power. Then there is the tiny house I constructed on a small budget making use of inexpensive materials, and somehow this tiny house exerts influence.

– Kazuo Shinohara in Conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist

Yokohama House by Kazuo Shinohara Article

House in Yokohama / Kazuo ShinoharaHouse in Yokohama / Kazuo Shinohara

House in Yokohama / Kazuo Shinohara

© Enric Massip-Bosch

The Japanese house is the ground of being for Shinohara both figuratively and literally (three of his built projects utilize Earthen floors). From there he developed an autonomous research-driven practice unlike any other at the time, one that seemed to simultaneously transcend and perfectly contain his era. In a conversation with Hans-Ulrich Obrist recently republished in Quaderns, Shinohara remarked that his chaotic bent was very “un-avant-garde” at a time when the architects of the International Style prioritized the near fascist ordeal of total order.

One gets the impression that Shinohara was kind of out there: too cool for the Metabolists, too intellectual for paper Modernists, evasive of the press, exalted by his students (Ito, Hasegawa, Sakamoto), and highly respected by his clients who were more often than not other artists, writers, poets, art directors, film producers, and intellectuals of all stripes. He is revered by contemporary Japanese firms like SANAA and Atelier Bow Wow. Shinohara is an architect’s architect if there ever was one. His reputation for uncompromising integrity is flawless. To this end, he maintained strict control over the publication of his work.

– Jon Leon in The Art Book Review

House in Yokohama / Kazuo Shinohara
House in Yokohama / Kazuo Shinohara

© Terutaka Hoashi

Yokohama House by Kazuo Shinohara Gallery
About Kazuo Shinohara

Kazuo Shinohara (1925-2006) was a Japanese architect, educator and writer. Before practicing architecture he studied mathematics, which influenced his particular conception of architecture and the city. Between 1958 and 1978, Shinohara completed thirty-eight private residences, demonstrating nevertheless his ongoing interest in the relationship between the small scale of single-family houses and the conception of the whole city, also recurrent themes in Metabolism, towards which he maintained a critical stance in several respects.

He has proved to be one of the most influential architect of his generation in shaping contemporary Japanese architecture. His influence stretches from Toyo Ito, Itsuko Hasegawa and Kazunari Sakamoto, via Kazuyo Sejima, to the many excellent young studios working today. Nevertheless, his work remains little known in the West, partly due to the scarcity of publications on his work – which in turn was due to the rigorous control the architect maintained over publication of his work. Shinohara carefully selected the photographs and texts that accompanied each project, and even refused Gustavo Gili’s first proposal in 2001 to revisit and photograph his buildings.

Cite this article: "House in Yokohama / Kazuo Shinohara" in ArchEyes, January 22, 2016,