Name in Japanese: 看板建築 (kanban kenchiku)

Names in English:

  • signboard architecture
  • billboard architecture
  • may also include: ‘billboard construction’ or ‘signboard construction’

Source of the term 看板建築 (kanban kenchiku): “This naming goes back to the architect Fujimori Terunobu 藤森照信 (1946 – ), who wrote a famous book about it, published in 1988.” (Source)

Summary: A style of architecture wherein an older, traditional Japanese structure is renovated with a new, generally square and flat, facade.

Reference from article on machiya 町屋/町家, traditional wooden townhouses:

“Roughly 20% of Kyoto’s machiya have been altered in a process called kanban kenchiku (看板建築, lit. “signboard architecture”); they retain the basic shape of a machiya, but their facades have been completely covered over in cement, which replaces the wooden lattices of the first story and mushikomado windows and earthwork walls of the second story. Many of these kanban kenchiku machiya have also lost their tile roofs, becoming more boxed-out in shape; many have also had aluminum or steel shutters installed, as are commonly seen in small urban shops around the world.”

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Notice the heavy shutter シャッター in the photo below, left:

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