Kiyonori Kikutake – A Renowned Architect

Japanese architect

April 1, 1928 – December 26, 2011


Architect Kiyonori Kikutake is one of the founders of the movement Metabolist Japan.

He Studied in Waseda University in 1950.

This was a marked era in architecture Japan, by the influence of modernism and Le Corbusier especially.

The influence of Le Corbusier reached Kikutake through the incursions of Japanese architects in the CIAM 8 and successive congresses.

In these, Japan could come into contact with Western ideas and the modern movement, and the use of concrete.

In 1958 he built his own house in Tokyo, the Skyhouse.

Sky House was the house designed and built by the Japanese architect Kiyonori Kikutake for himself in 1958. It is an elevated single volume that actually exemplifies both these key standards on a local scale.

The house comprises of a single 10x10m concrete slab raised up on 4,5 m high wharfs situated on the central axe of every side, with a specific purpose to free the corners with its piers additionally support the concrete rooftop.

Combination of thick and thin forms. The house is suspended under the structure as though there is a table on the interior space.

The pillars are located on the shafts of each side of the square forming the housing to release the corners. In addition to supporting the slab, the pillars also support the concrete roof.

To Kikutake redesigning the cover gaskets was allowing this operation regarding the Metabolists construction principles, interchangeability and flexibility.

On the cover Kikutake mixes traditional Japanese style with Western versionfor a more practical structure.

The best concrete deck supports force caused by strong winds and has more dynamic resistance, allowing cover larger distances with the minimum use of material.

The buttresses of the roof, reminiscent of the place for ornamentation in the traditional Japanese roofs, bring more balance and strength to the assembly.



The home space is defined by the permanent spaces, which need not undergo changes, and temporary spaces capable of being changed, deleted, added, expanded or reduced in size.

The latter, called “movenettes” control the relationship of the building with its surroundings. Among the changeable units are the children’s room, kitchen and bathroom. This change facilitates the idea of ​​adapting the house to future needs.



The architect shows his rejection of functionalism placing the free space in the center of the house and servers bordering the perimeter of the housing spaces in the interior is typical of the traditional houses of Japan. All around this central space is a balcony that wraps around the building.

The sky-house applies this principle on the small scale, addressing the changeability inherent in a single family.

The first addition to the main volume was the children room, a small space plugged under the floor, (a “move-net” as the architect likes to call it), which was removed when the children moved away.



Max Teng


Credits and References:


Sky House / Kiyonori Kikutake


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