Japan made a rigorous decision in 2008 based on extensive research into the limited lifespan of buildings (in Japan then an average of just 30 years), the limited adaptability for the elderly and experience with the costly public funds approach of neighborhoods that ran down socially. Only homes that are adaptable without disturbing the neighbors (left, right, upstairs and downstairs), are still eligible for a subsidy or other public funding. The utilities also must be installed per property in such a way that they are accessible from the (semi) public space and can be customized. These requirements have a lot of (technical) influence on the way of building for all involved. How to solve this challenge is left to the market. Here is a presentation in English with more information about this working method.
Due to the expected large shrinking of the size of Japanese population – from 128 million in 2005 to an expected 90 million in 2055 – large changes in the amount of needed, the quality and the location of homes will occur. See for the latest situation housing update this download in English; “Housing in Japan 2017“. The national housing company Urban Renaissance is preparing the nation for that. Part of it is the total restructuring from new-build homes to renovation of homes. An example of that approach you can find in the Nogatadanchi project documentation in Tokyo. Part of the houses is put on the market as furnished homes, a corporation of UR with MUJI a large home furnishing company with this booklet showing a lot of available homes as a result. See for more pictures the BRIQS Pinterest Board and the project website.
During the 2015 visit of home development and refurbishment by Remko Zuidema on behalf of the BRIQS foundation the latest changes in policies and implementation have been seen and discussed. A series on blogs shows more of that on briqs.org. One of the new ideas is the way development is brought to market in homes with choices in accessoires as we know it from shipbuilding and car industries. Developer LOOP has this brochure of showing that in this download fold-out (in Japanese).
The large Japanese home builder Haseko – with over half a million homes built – opened their research centre for the fist time to non-Japanse visit. This special situation our founder of BRIQS could have a look behind the scenes. As mostly photographing was not allowed, this Haseko guide book tells you most of the Haseko Research and Development Institute north of Tokyo.
From the year 1993 onward the NEXT21 building in Osaka – made possible by Osaka Gas and inhabited by its employees – has been a showcase of Open Building. Every 7 years the apartment building is completely refurbished with the latest in homes and energy equipment. In 2015 Remko Zuidema of the BRIQS foundation visited the building to see and hear of the latest developments by its architect and founding utility company Osaka Gas. Pictures of the building are published on our NEXT21 Pinterest board.
More on the background at this video:
Find more detailed information on NEXT21 in this big download of all homes for the present fourth fase of development. Also available as a printable A4 booklet to download. Every seven years a new fase starts with new developments being tested in the building. And even in between new plans are executed like seen in this 2014 download of two homes.
As earthquakes occur regularly in Japan and new regulations are developed to protect people in buildings from it, renovations include adapting buildings to new constructions. Discussions between home owners and construction companies occur often nowadays with more claims being inflicted on construction companies due to new regulations and certifications. The national Japanese public-private initiative Center for Housing Renovation and Dispute Settlement (CHORD) receives around a 100 calls a day on conflict discussions. Much information is available by download in the special brochure we received at our visit. Measures and certificates on earthquake risks after renovations form a major part of that.