How did Japanese Architecture Become Resilient After World War II? Japaneseness After the defeat of Japan in World War II, the centrality of traditional Japanese architecture became uncertain. For many people in Japan, traditional Japanese architecture was tainted by its relations with catastrophe and naturalism shaped by the states actions. However, traditional architecture returned into public discussions as part of an argument between architects, critics, historians and artists (Ciorra and Ostende, 2016 pp.
67). The extensive dispute may have been inspired by the 1952 treaty of San Francisco. Central to the dispute in the architectural circle, there had been queries of which the historical style may signify Japanese tradition in the modern age (Ciorra and Ostende, 2016 pp.67).
One style had been the Shinden-Zukuri which was a style of architecture which is associated with Heian-Period palace architecture and categorised by open spaces and elevated floors (Ciorra and Ostende, 2016 pp.67). This style had been given the name as mentioned before (Shinden-Zukuri), the name means ‘sleeping hall’; which states the buildings purpose (Bryant, 2001). In order to understand traditional Japanese architecture, we must look back and understand the real meaning of tradition in Japan to understand why some structures had been designed.
A simplistic piece of architecture comes to mind for many when describing Japan, this is the Japanese Tea House, known as the Chashitsu. The Chashitsu had emerged from the traditional tea ceremony; the Chanoyu Sado. The Chashitsu is a form of art which expresses the sentimentality of drinking tea. The Japanese tea house is today attributed to Sen no Rikyu, who had developed the tea house from the open spaces found in Japanese architecture, and even after World War II, traditional Japanese Architecture such as the Chashitsu is still being built as a symbol of ritual (Kawakami, 2016).
To understand this further we must look in depth with a personal diary entry; such as “In Praise of Shadows”, written by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki.There had been a famous restaurant which the writer; Tanizaki had visited in Kyoto, he had said within the diary entry that these dining rooms were once lit by candle light, after many years of the restaurant utilising candles, Tanizaki later visited again and had noticed that the candlelight’s had been replaced by electrically sourced lamps shaped like lanterns (Tanizaki, 1977). The restaurant titleholders had stated that this was due to complaints from existing customers as the candlelight’s had been too dim. Tanizaki had thought that it must be a painful duty to incorporate gas, electric, pipes and wires into a pure Japanese style building such as a tea house, restaurant or inn due to the style and look of the structure (Tanizaki, 1977). The West side of Japan had known a time when there had been no gas, electric or petroleum, however the people had not found beauty in light itself but in the shadows that natural light had created. it is stated that if it were not for shadows and the darkness that the night and shadows bring; there would have been no beauty (Tanizaki, 1977).
Mass production In 1945 Japan had surrendered, and had been defeated in World War II, the nation was then confronted by many perished buildings; including homes over a mass proportion of the country (Ciorra and Ostrende, 2016 pp.85). The war effected Japanese groundwork and this was catastrophic, it was estimated after World War II that approximately fifty per cent of the capital (Tokyo) had been demolished by the US firebombing.
Evidence suggest that over the country an average of 4.2 million houses and buildings had been destroyed (Ciorre and Ostrende, 2016 pp.85). Japan then had no option other than to locate and develop an efficient, cost effective method of rehousing the desperate population. Many architects spent a substantial amount of time and effort toward reconstruction of the houses and buildings lost (Ciorre and Ostrende, 2016 pp.
85). Due to this, they had come up with a strategy known as the second congres internationaux d’architecture modern (CIAM II) in 1929 had revolved around the theme of minimum dwelling- This had been derived to comply with the needs of the occupants with the minimum means, deploying industrial technologies and methods to do so. Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret propositioned the efficiency of Taylorist and Fordist methods of production as a fundamental precedent for an innovative approach to functional, economic design. Furthermore, Le Corbusier’s former employees Kunio Maekawa and Junzo Sakakura had been at the face of creating minimum housing appropriate for the Japanese context.
Both architects developed methods for prefabricated houses that build on wartime infrastructure and technologies, an example of this is the Maekawa’s PROMOS which is assembled by wood panels produced in a factory that previously manufactured wooden airplanes for the war effort. Though the discussion, at CIAM II where concerned with multiple dwelling housing complex. However, the Japanese, made it their priority to focus on free standing, single family homes. This A House is a Work of Art In 1962, an architect who was named Kazuo Shinohara had stated that ‘a house is a work of art’. Japan was then experiencing the assistances of an ‘econo/mic miracle’, which had seen Japan spring from World War II defeat, to earths second major economy (Ciorre and Otrende, 2016 pp.119). Shinohara was originally a mathematician, however became one of the world’s most powerful practitioners and theorists within the 20th century. Kazuo Shinohara then later focused on single-family houses, this then raised and recognised the parameters of architectural dispute for many following generations of architects to come.
Using a large quantity and range of buildings, Shinohara attempted to demonstrate a ‘method of Japanese architecture’, conversing religious belief, power, authority, nature, architectural arrangement and illogicality (Ciorre and Otrende, 2016 pp.119). Shinohara greatest examples of buildings and architecture concern the space of rural minka, these are the traditional Japanese homes owned by people known as commoners and the houses (or larger houses) mainly designed for people who obtained power such as aristocrats (Pancoti, 2017). In order to understand the true meaning of Shinohara’s saying; “a house is a work of art” we should take a look into different types of architecture which had been inspired by art. Earth and concrete Two thirds of the Japanese archipelago, which tends to be situated in the Asian Monsoon zone, is covered in deep forests. From the humidity, climate, fertile earth and trees, Japan has shaped a prosperous ‘wooden culture’ reinforced by an advanced wood construction (Ciorre and Otrende, 2016 pp.103).
The strengthened concrete that had been presented within this culture throughout the development of industrialisation had seemed completely unrelated to wood, from construction methods to texture (Ciorre and Otrende, 2016 pp.103). Efforts to utilise this distant fabrication, however had then resulted in it being combined within and throughout the wooden culture, which had continued to be a dominant component throughout everyday life for the Japanese people. This then followed by developing an exceptional Japanese interpretation of concrete (Ciorre and Otrende, 2016 pp.103) … (Continued) Closed to open in the 1960’s a period of rapid industrial and economic growth took an increase in air pollution and urban overcrowding, moreover in the early 1970’s, residential works took an even worse turning point.
Both architects toyo ito and kazunari sakamoto took matters into their own hands and critically responded to this urban and social context. In a series of houses between the years the 1970’s and 1980’s, they utilised domestic architecture to establish a space of critique, carrying on a close and productive discourse among their projects. Both architects set themselves apart from what Is thought to be a typical open house, in that their walled- interiors have limited number of openings and minimal openings containing a one- room space that is composed of a floor, walls and windows, they