Japanese architects highly regard their natural environment. They masterfully utilize light to effectively enhance their architectural designs. Natural materials are interwoven, generating a harmonious intermixture of structural building and landscape.
There are several Japanese architects who are world renowned such as Kenzō Tange, the winner of the 1987 Pritzker Prize for architecture; Fumihiko Maki, the 1993 Pritzker Prize winner; Tadao Ando, a self-taught architect and winner of the 1995 Pritzker Prize; Kazuyo Sejima known for her orderly modernist designs and who won the Pritzker Prize in 2010 in conjunction with Ryue Nishizawa; and Shigeru Ban, the 2014 Pritzker Prize winner.
Architectural schools in Japan are as highly ranked, as the luminary Japanese architects above mentioned. Fumihiko Maki and Kenzō Tange are graduates of the University of Tokyo which holds 10th place in the international arena and 1st on the list of architectural schools in Japan.
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The University of Tokyo referred to as Todai is a research university located in Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan. The university was chartered by the Meiji government in 1877 under its current name by amalgamating older government schools for medicine and Western learning. Previously, it was known as Imperial University and then Tokyo Imperial University before adopting its current name.
Osaka University was officially founded in 1931 as Japan’s 6th imperial university. In 1949, Osaka University was recreated with five schools namely, the School of Letters, the School of Law and Economics, the School of Science, the School of Medicine, and the School of Engineering.
Kyoto Imperial University was founded in June 1897. In 1920 August the School of Architecture was founded with 3 departments. Over the years two other departments have been added. In 1953 the Master Program in the Department of Architecture was started. Two years later the Doctor Program in the Department of Architecture was established.
In 1963 the Division of Architectural Design was established. The School of Architecture and the School of Architectural Engineering were combined and rearranged to form the Graduate School and the School of Architecture.
Tokyo Institute of Technology originated as the Tokyo Vocational School in 1881. The campus moved and there was a change of status to a degree conferring university in 1929. Twenty years later, the enactment of the National School Establishment Law promoted the reorganization of Tokyo Institute of Technology. In 2004, Tokyo Institute of Technology was re-established as an independent administrative institution with the name “National University Corporation Tokyo Institute of Technology.”
Tohoku University was established in 1907. It is located on the ancient site of Aoba Castle in Sendai City. It is the third oldest Imperial University in Japan and among the National Seven Universities. The Department of Architecture and Building Science offers students several courses and opportunities for advancement.
In 1871, after the Meiji Restoration, Nagoya Prefecture, also referred to as the Nagoya Domain, established a medical school. Nagoya Imperial University was established with two schools, the School of Medicine and the School of Science and Engineering.
In 1942, the School of Science and Engineering was divided into the School of Science and the School of Engineering. During the world war the university was damaged. After the war, the university was restored and the name of the university was changed to Nagoya University.
In 1918, Hokkaido University became the 5th esteemed university in mainland Japan. The university was added to the league of seven Imperial Universities formed by the Imperial Japanese government. It is a distinction which is still highly regarded today. In 1924 The School of Engineering was established. In 1947 Hokkaido Imperial University was renamed Hokkaido University.
The history of Kyushu University dates back to 1903 when Fukuoka Medical College was established as the foundation of Kyushu Imperial University. The college was legally attached to Kyoto Imperial University at that time.
The College of Engineering of Kyushu Imperial University was established in January 1911. It produced its first graduates in 1914. In 1919 the College of Engineering was reorganized as the Faculty of Engineering.
In 1947, following national education reforms, Kyushu Imperial University was renamed Kyushu University. Since then, the faculty has continued to expand, in accordance with the community and students’ needs.
In 1975 the School of Art and Design was established within Tsukuba University. The School of Art and Design offers an undergraduate program of art and design in four fields and 15 study areas. One of the objectives of the Architectural Design program is to provide a venue for contemplating, researching and investigating fundamental issues related to architecture.
Keio University was founded in 1858. In 1899 Keio was Japan’s first private university to send students abroad: four to Germany, two to the United States. In 1906 graduate programs were offered to students. In 1981 the Faculty of Engineering was reorganized and expanded as the Faculty of Science and Technology.
The architecture courses taught at the universities, offer students an opportunity to explore topical architecture issues, as well as provide in-depth knowledge about the past and present traditions of Japan’s architecture. Traditional homes and buildings were built from wood. Over the years however, the architecture in Japan has changed to withstand natural disasters, as many buildings have been lost in wars, fires and earthquakes. Currently, temples, castles shrines, palaces and castles are being preserved and in some instances, reconstructed.
Japan is technologically advanced but still holds the country’s tradition. There is an inventive quality seen in Japanese architecture that is revolutionary and innovative yet sensible and practical.
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Likewise, undergraduate and graduate courses taught at the architectural schools in Japan are practical, enriching and encourage creativity. This is so, to ensure that the needs and goals of students are met to enable them to advance their illustrious careers and leave a wonderful legacy as other well-known Japanese architects.