21 Feb 2011

curtain wall house

Curtain Wall House, Shigeru Ban, 1995. On windy winter day.
curtain wall is an outer covering of a building in which the outer walls are non-structural, but merely keep out the weather. - Wikipedia.
mies invented the glass curtain wall, but I just used a curtain. Shigeru Ban - Designboom
What is notable is the tree missing in the old photos. If must affect the second floor deck space deeply in summer. Also the four cars crammed into the plot.
More information with plans from a Moma exhibition. Shigeru Ban Architects website about the project here.

Along the street.
What surprised me was the stair part of the house, absent in my recollection of the project and the most vivid photos of curtain flying in the wind. It is carved out of space and attached to the pure box.
The stair winding upwards.


  1. It looks different than original photos, with closed-in interior, just like any other home or building. Maybe the road debris and blowing curtains became too inconvenient for the occupants.

  2. What I forgot to mention is the fact that the photo is taken in the middle of winter.
    Also, if I understood it correctly the client really didn't understand what they had ordered.

  3. The curtain wall house shown by you is excellent. You have shared very goo information

  4. What is the address, I would love to see it, I am in tokyo now

  5. A bit sad and disappointing. Saw it last year and while I am glad I did, wish it lived now as it always had in my imagination. Shouldn't a site like that have received historic or similar status? The trees, the cars, etc make it look trashy.

    1. Historic preservation as we know it in the West does not exist in Japan. Traditionally, architecture was considered inherently ephemeral and practical- while there was an art to it, preserving it as it once was in a particular time is a foreign concept. While we may mourn the loss of the billowing curtain and the addition of a garage, the owner and broader Japanese society would probably view these changes as just a fact of life. The closest thing they have to preservation is either ritualistic reconstruction of temples (the Ise Grand shrine has been rebuilt every 20 years for over a thousand years- and they consider each rebuild to be the same building, not a replica) or letting it age and weather over time, resulting in inevitable change. Our treatment of old or notable buildings as pristine artifacts to be frozen in time would be considered as bizarre and nonsensical to the traditional Japanese mindset.