Karl Bengs, German-Japanese Architecture

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!

Karl Bengs

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.

A house by Karl Bengs

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.

3 Responses to “Karl Bengs, German-Japanese Architecture”

  1. Marion Tijsseling says:

    Dear Mr. Bengs,

    I have lived and worked in Tokyo for a while and am planning to stay on for a few years to come. I would be interested in living in a re-constructed Japanese house.

    Would it be possible to discuss this with you?


    Marion Tijsseling

    Marion Pennink

    • tony says:

      best for you to contact Mr Bengs through his website, I think

    • Marion,

      I have been trying to find you & Burchard for the last 8 years. Please follow the bondsage@yahoo.com address. If you consider moving to one of Bengs’s houses, you should definitely let me know. I am planning a trip back to Tokyo soon.

      All the best, Marshall
      And thank you Tony McNicol – excellent shots

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