Icons at Risk
Iconic Houses Conference May 2018
Our Badge of Honour
Terence Riley -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Philip Johnson
New era for Villa E-1027 and Cap Moderne
Jorge Liernur -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Latin American Modernism(s)
Restoring the past: The Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Home Studio
Behind the Scenes: Hendrick de Keyser Association
Latin America Special – Focus on Mexico
De Stijl in Drachten
Preserving the Nancarrow House-Studio
Meet the Friends - Nanne de Ru
Latin America Special – Focus on Brazil
Iconic Houses Lecture Tour - The Weizmann House
Jan de Jong’s House is Latest Hendrick de Keyser Acquisition
Stay in a Belgian Modernist Masterpiece
In Berlin’s Modernist Network
Rietveld-Schröder House Celebrates De Stijl Anniversary
Meet Our New Foundation Board Members
Virtual Tour of a Papaverhof Home in 3D
Getty Grant for Villa E-1027
11 Le Corbusier Homes now on Unesco World Heritage List
At home with Le Corbusier
Wright Plus 2016 Walk
Casa Batlló's innovative Video Guide
Documentary La Ricarda
Richard Hutten at the Sonneveld House
Rent a house designed by Gerrit Rietveld
Barragán House on Screen
Gesamtkunstwerk – An Icon on the Move
Maurice Drue Parrish named Executive Director of Farnsworth House
Triennale der Moderne 27 September - 13 October 2013
Prestigious Art Nouveau mansions in Brussels open
September 14 + 15: Heritage Days in Paris
June's New Arrivals: Museum Apartments
Iconic Houses is now on Twitter and Facebook
Corbu’s Cabanon: Reconstruction and Lecture
Projekt Mies In Krefeld: Life-sized model of the Krefeld Clubhouse
New arrivals: Spain special
MAMO: Le Corbu’s ‘Park in the Sky’ open 12 June
Annual Wright Architectural Housewalk: 18 May
Frank Lloyd Wright Homes on Screen
Message from the Editor
Neutra’s House on Screen
Melnikov House on Screen
Iconic Houses in the media
Message from the Editor
Eileen Gray House on Screen
Toshiko Kinoshita on Japanese Modern Heritage Houses
Architectural historian Toshiko Kinoshita is a director of the Heritage Houses Trust in Tokyo. She also runs the contemporary housing organization Community Housing with her husband Juan Ordonez. Toshiko will be a speaker at our upcoming Fifth International Iconic Houses Conference in New Canaan 15-18 May.
Why did you set up Heritage Houses Trust?
We set it up five years ago, after a four-year effort to preserve the important Sonoda House by Junzo Yoshimura. We succeeded after much awareness-raising in the form of architectural expert talks, piano recitals, and an exhibition about heritage houses – newspaper coverage followed, and a fan of the architect got in touch with us. He later bought the house, and safeguarded its future. This success led us to set up the Heritage Houses Trust.
What problems do Modern houses like this one face in Japan?
There is almost no legal framework protecting them. It’s easy and financially rewarding to demolish old buildings and redevelop the site. People don’t generally buy old houses and renovate them, and there’s no market for significant Modern homes. Death duties are high and often this means heirs cannot keep their houses, but have to sell them to pay tax. Currently, the only solution we can find is to get the house a new owner, as there’s no legal process to force preservation unless it is designated as important cultural property.
Where does your interest in endangered houses come from?
I grew up in a beautiful traditional Japanese house in Kobe – my grandfather had bought it in order to prevent it from being demolished. That early experience helped to lead me to the realization that, in losing its heritage buildings, Japan is in danger of losing its aesthetic tradition. Later, when studying in Britain, I saw that it doesn’t have to be this way. I saw how people really appreciate and value historic buildings there, and how difficult it is to demolish them.
In the Community Housing portfolio, the iconic Maekawa House is one of your rentals.
Yes, the architect Kunio Maekawa’s own house was in danger of demolition. The family sold it to a developer, most probably because they couldn’t afford to pay the death duties. To save it, we bought it and now rent it out.
Which Modern houses have particularly inspired you?
A particular favorite of mine is Louis Kahn’s Fisher House. I could not imagine how beautiful it could be from the drawings. The scale, the choice of materials, the design of the windows, the detailing, everything is so masterly. I was very impressed just experiencing the space.
What most needs to change in Japan to preserve Modern houses?
We need a legal framework. Public awareness of the importance of heritage would also help. We also need a market that appreciates the value of buying such houses to live in. In the future, I see great potential for such a market to grow in Japan.
Toshiko recommends watching an Introduction to the Heritage Houses Trust in Japan as a warm up for the conference.
Photo: Toshiko with the Kunio Maekawa House (Tokyo, Japan) in the background.
Publication date 15 February 2018