online: 26 july 2017
modified: 26 july 2017

4 june 2017 houses without walls an exhibition of a rethinking of the Japanese house... in many new varieties... but based on the ancient tea houses... (and the wabi-sabi tradition of deliberate imperfection)... 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 activities... ...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... 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... 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:

Atelier Bow-Wow: 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'

Chie Konno: '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 surrounding forest'

Terunobu Fujimori: '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


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