Japanese signboard architecture, an introduction 看板建築

the tokyo files: media 東京ファイル・メディア

Name in Japanese: 看板建築 (kanban kenchiku)

Names in English:

  • signboard architecture
  • billboard architecture
  • may also include: billboard construction or signboard construction

Source of the term 看板建築 (kanban kenchiku): “This naming goes back to the architect Fujimori Terunobu 藤森照信 (1946 – ), who wrote a famous book about it, published in 1988.” (Source)

Summary: A style of architecture wherein an older, traditional Japanese structure is renovated with a new, generally square and flat, facade.

Reference from article on machiya 町屋/町家, traditional wooden townhouses:

“Roughly 20% of Kyoto’s machiya have been altered in a process called kanban kenchiku (看板建築, lit. “signboard architecture”); they retain the basic shape of a machiya, but their facades have been completely covered over in cement, which replaces the wooden lattices of the first story and mushikomado windows and earthwork walls of the second story. Many of these kanban…

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