This story was on the way back from Niigata early spring this year. Karl Bengs is a German architect who first visited Japan in 1966. He buys old Japanese farmhouses, dismantles them then rebuilds them in his own distinctive style and with all mod cons (like proper insulation and heating).
This photo was taken in his office. The Buddhist statue in the background was bought in a Tokyo antiques shop 20 years ago. I want one of those for my office too!
Bengs lives in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited in Japan (Tokamachi). Even in early spring when the snow was uncovering the dead grass it looked enchanting. This is one of Bengs’ 40 or so houses. Most are in the village where he lives. I have to go back there in the winter or when the rice is green.
The houses are a similar-ish price to brand new modern houses, Bengs told me, and the land up in the mountains is almost free.
Inside the thatched roof.
Another picture in the office. Nice moody warm lighting. I think I used the flash on camera with a tungsten filter.
Bengs is 187cm tall so he brought the farmhouse floor down 10cm when he rebuilt it.