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Insider Tips for Smooth and Successful Projects in Japan

Case No. 2 Suburban villa rehabilitation

This project involved a villa owned by a Hong Kong client that had cost and scheduling problems when it was constructed a few years ago. A producer had served as the coordinator and liaison between the HK client and a Japanese architect. Since the original architect did not directly interact with the client, he was imposing his own style on the villa without confirming the details with the client. The client was naturally dissatisfied with this unprofessional mode of operation.


Four to five years had passed since the villa was finished, and several problems had emerged. The owner hoped to repartition and renovate the property without involving the producer or the architect that originally handled the project. The principal person formerly in charge at the project management company consulted our office, and we were asked to participate.


One of the problems was the degradation of wooden louvers. The original architect utilized natural wood and fixed the louvers tightly, which caused degradation and cracking. To reduce the burden of future maintenance, we adopted louvers made of a wood-composite synthetic material. We also changed the movable installation details allowing for the contraction and expansion of the louvers following the Japanese climate, which has significant temperature and humidity differences.


To Be Continued

Case No. 1 Renovating an ultra-luxury apartment in the city center

The Singaporean owner had plans to renovate a newly built condominium in a prime location in the center of Tokyo. A Japanese designer suggested by the condominium sales and management company was in charge, but distrust grew due to a lack of communication.


If a client makes a clear request, it needs to be executed. However, the former architect did not recognize this and continued to propose something quite different from what the client requested without explaining the reason. The client developed serious doubts about the ability of the previous architect to realize his idea, and finally dissolved the design contract and canceled the project.

Through this frustrating experience, the client realized that his designer (architect) should be close by to maintain more direct communication.

The client also decided to rebuild the design team. He hired a design firm in his native country that he had used before. Our office was asked to serve as the executive architect through referrals from a collaborative designer in Singapore acquainted with the previous resort project.


To Be Continued


Two Real-World Cases

I want to tell you about how foreign clients can make such residential projects work, based on some cases that our office (Masatoyo Ogasawara Architects (MOA): was asked to troubleshoot.


When it comes to residential design projects, foreign investors are not well-informed regarding conditions in Japan. Unfortunately, Japanese architects and contractors don’t fully grasp the needs and demands of international clients. To fill this gap, I believe that sharing my experiences with both sides will be beneficial. Here are two real-world cases for you to consider.


To Be Continued

Insider Tips for Smooth and Successful Projects in Japan

This chapter tells you how to find a top architectural firm in Japan and the most effective ways of interacting with them, how to ensure you have the right contractor and get your property built or renovated to your satisfaction, and what pitfalls to watch out for along the way.


I’ll start off, however, with who’s currently investing in the market, and with a couple of real-world projects the firm I work with has handled.


High-net-worth individuals from Asia are making a splashDespite fluctuations in the yen exchange rate and stock market, Japan is one of the leading investment destinations for wealthy Asian people.


To Be Continued