The Umbrella House is the smallest residential home by Japanese architect and mathematician Kazuo Shinohara (1925-2006). This book tells the story of his unique masterpiece, which was first built in Tokyo in 1961. More than sixty years later, a stroke of good fortune made it possible to save the Umbrella House from demolition and move it to a new location, where it now stands on the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein (Germany). The wooden house’s post-and-beam construction references traditional Japanese domestic and temple architecture. Experts from Japan and Europe supervised the dismantling of the house in Tokyo and its reassembly in Weil am Rhein.
The book traces the long journey of the Umbrella House in lavish illustrations including impressions from 1960s Japan, architectural designs and plans, and photographs that document its dismantling and reassembly or show the house in its new location. Texts by Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA), Shin-ichi Okuyama, and David B. Stewart discuss the Umbrella House against the background of Japanese architectural discourse between 1960 and the present.
“The strength of my conviction that A House is a Work of Art was born of the struggle with this small house. I wished to express the force of space contained in the doma [earthen-floor room] of an old Japanese farmhouse, this time by means of the geometric structural design of a karakasa [oiled-paper Japanese umbrella].” Kazuo Shinohara in a text on the Umbrella House published in October 1962 in the Japanese architecture journal Shinkenchiku (vol. 37, no. 10; first published in English in February 1963 in The Japan Architect, vol. 38, no. 2).