Home-security AI cats; talking walls equipped with motion sensors; communal-living apartment blocks that promote harmonious relations; and outdoor living-room spaces powered by solar energy siphoned off hybrid cars — these previews of our future, currently on display at "House Vision 2," sound like science fiction, but their realization is probably closer than you think.
A showcase of future homes designed by some of Japan's most renowned architects, in collaboration with electronics, building supplies and other housing-related companies, "House Vision 2" is the second exhibition of its kind in Japan. Conceived by Kenya Hara — the art director of Muji and founder of the Hara Design Institute — the inaugural "House Vision" in 2013 involved seven full-scale buildings built on-site at a dedicated exhibition space. This year, it has brought together even more participants to create 12 installations, with Kengo Kuma, Jun Igarashi, Taiji Fujimori, Sou Fujimoto and Shigeru Ban among the list of leading architects.
The result is visually impressive, but at the event's core is an engaging commentary on the social responsibility of architecture. Its buildings — whether they are strikingly minimalist and equipped with subtle high-tech conveniences, or coalescent with nature through open-plan spaces built in untreated lumber — have all been designed to offer solutions to contemporary social issues. These include Japan's rural decline, the energy crisis and a particular focus on social disconnect between not just individuals but also generations