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Unformatted text preview: Japanese structure and design, which was presented to the city of Chicago and preserved until 1946. Wright expressed
his enthusiasm for traditional Japanese architecture in the following
I saw the native home in Japan as a supreme study in elimination—not only
of dirt but the elimination of the insignificant. So the Japanese house naturally fascinated me and I would spend hours taking it all to pieces and putting
it together again. I saw nothing meaningless in the Japanese home and could
find very little added in the way of ornament [the equivalent of ornament
being achieved] by bringing out and polishing the beauty of the simple materials they used in making the building . . . and strangely enough, I found this
ancient Japanese dwelling to be a perfect example of the modern standardizing I had myself been working out. The floor mats, removable for cleaning,
are all three feet by six feet. The size and shape of all the houses are both
determined by these mats. The sliding partitions all occur at the unit lines of
the mats [and the] polished wooden posts . . . all stand at the intersection of
the mats.32 Despite the example of Wright and the promise of more independence and even innovation of approach inherent in the new sentiments
of Japanese architects, the 1920s and 1930s witnessed a general continuation of the earlier reliance upon, and imitation of, Western architectural trends.33 For example, rather than attempt in the best traditional
manner—and with the encouragement of Taut—to allow structure to
determine design (as in the classical straight-line patterning of buildings, such as Katsura, based on post-and-beam construction), they
succumbed to the Western use of massive walls that obliterated all structural features. It is true that, with the approach of the China and Pacific
wars, the emergent military leaders of Japan sought to promote the
development of a “national style” in modern architecture, but this
tended to be an effort more to excise Western elements from Japanese
buildings than to encourage the pursuit of new and progressive native
lines of development.
Whereas before World War II the Japanese had been influenced
chiefly by European architectural styles, after the war the main foreign
influence was, probably unavoidably, American. One result of this trend
was that, while such countrie...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.
- Spring '13