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Architectural  Record            

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Recent Architectural Record Articles:

100% Chocolate Café – Wonderwall

Meiji is Japan’s largest chocolate manufacturer, and its 100% Chocolate Café, designed by the Tokyo-based firm Wonderwall, is a cocoa connoisseur’s dream come true. In addition to dominating the menu, Meiji’s mainstay is the defining element of the café’s architecture. A transparent refrigerator showcasing tubs of chocolate greets patrons upon entry; walls of wrapped chocolate squares tile the sales section; and an open kitchen, where chocolate concoctions are prepared before customers’ eyes, presides over the seating area. Most delectable of all, a spectacular suspended ceiling that replicates Meiji’s iconic itachoco bar in wood covers the room with chocolate.

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Futakotamagawa Rise Galleria – Lightdesign

Reflecting the slowing flow of shoppers as the sky darkens, light levels drop and the colored hues of the bridge, pole, and ribbonlike LED fixtures turn from warm orange after sunset (below), to red-purple in the evening, and to deep blue (above) at 11 p.m. when the downlighting shuts off completely and pedestrian traffic tapers off for the night.

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House NA – Sou Fujimoto Architects

There’s no running around naked in Sosuke Fujimoto’s House NA. The 3-D matrix of tiny rooms and exterior terraces—all located on different floor levels—is encased almost entirely with see-through glass. Supported by a bare, white structural frame, the transparent walls reveal the interior contents to all who pass by. Even in Japan, where proximate neighbors and thin walls often compromise privacy, an unclothed house is a daring solution.

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Japan Post Disaster

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck Japan’s eastern Sanriku coast, triggering an enormous tidal wave that left 310,000 people homeless, 23,000 dead or missing, and a cluster of unstable nuclear reactors. Today the debris is largely cleared, roads are open, railways are back in operation, and more than half of the damaged seaports are functioning again. And there is more good news. All of the evacuation centers are closed, thanks to the completion of temporary housing throughout the blighted region.

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Recent Wallpaper* Articles:

Book: New Architecture in Japan

This welcome addition to the library is a comprehensive overview of over 100 recent projects in Japan, from large scale pieces of urban to small scale residential gems, photographed with an almost fetishistic eye for detail (such as the glossy blacks and velvety concrete of the Ware House in Hokkaido by Jun Igarashi, featured in W*120).

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Interactive floorplan: Celluloid Jam, Yokohama

A private house in the heart of suburbia, Celluloid Jam looks like it dropped off another planet. But to architect Norisada Maeda, its futuristic form was just the thing for his clients’ hilltop plateau at the edge of the Japanese city of Yokohama.

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Inujima Art Project, Japan

Japan is a curious blend of traditional buildings, futuristic cityscapes and not much in between. Propelled by a relentless drive for economic gain, the country has been quick to scrap and build without looking back.

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