online: 26 july 2017
modified: 26 july 2017
4 june 2017 houses without walls
...at an exhibition of a rethinking of the Japanese house... in many new
based on the ancient tea houses... (and the wabi-sabi tradition of
as well as the tradition of sitting eating
and sleeping in one space
which is modified with movable walls and flooring that is adaptive to these
...for instance each floor mat is the size of a mattress
which in the day can be put in a storage space...
(total indoor floor space of a house is measured in number of mats...)
...the exhibition itself is of interwoven room spaces (mostly without
walls... or with glass ones... or sliding) so that all living activities are partly
visible from the street as well as from inside... for instance the
bathroom and toilet can be doorless... and sleeping, resting, cooking and
eating can be anywhere on raised surfaces or on the floor... the inhabitants can
if daring sit with legs dangling outside the house where an exterior
wall is opened...
...at first i was put off by a full scale cartoon film of life inside
such a house (i was put off by the almost inescapable way film-making
controls and imprisons one's freedom to look where and when
one likes)... as one is forced to look only at what the
camera-persons and film editors decide...
...it was an immediate relief to walk about within such interiors
in a way that few exhibitions of architecture allow... and an evident joy
for those of us who were experiencing this freedom...
...but perhaps more interesting were the writings of the new/old
thoughts and aims of the architects...
here are some phrases from their writings:
their own combined house-and-office proposes 'a fourth-generation house open to
non-family members. Working and living spaces are interwoven, while
large windows open the house to the street. a direct circulation route
runs through ground floor'
'the architect's elderly mother is connected to the wider community, one
small way that well-researched design can alleviate social problems
Maki Onishi and Yuki Hayakuda:
'the ground floor (of a week-end house) is continuous with the
'tea house and garden... the aesthetic philosophy of an ancient tea ceremony
humble utensils promoted wabi-sabi - a way of thought that values
simplicity, imperfection and the passing of time'
the exhibition (which was called The Japanese House:
Architecture and Life after 1945)
was at the Barbican Gallery, London until 25 June 2017
© 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008,
2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 john chris
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