the traditional home is based on Ma, which is the balance between space and
objects. The space is divided by shoji screens, which slide on tracks and can
be removed to enlarge a room or allow the room to become integrated with other
spaces, such as the garden. Though some believe the screen’s paper is made of
rice paper, it isn’t. Shoji paper is called Washi and it’s made of fibers from
the Kozo tree.
The paper is made with a specific thinness, which allows the
right amount of light to shine through. If you change the fiber direction or
thickness, the washi optical factors, such as reflection rate and transparency,
change. The paper’s surface allows sunlight to scatter throughout a room evenly
and efficiently. This remarkable and ingenious screen originated in Japan during
the time of the Chinese Han dynasty and is one of the many timeless Japanese
architectural elements still popular today
Architecturally speaking, Japan has come a long way over the
centuries. Though they still maintain a sense of tradition inside, the homes’
exterior is a far cry from the traditional “Japanese” home.
Because Japan is about the size of California and the
population exceeds 125 million people, which is three and a half times the
population of California, the modern Japanese home is more compact and built
with a highly efficient and functional design, making every space count.
Though the interior space is graceful, clean, and turbo-functional,
the outside is modern, futuristic, and sometimes downright ugly. Some homes are
built to look like square spaceships, often composed of 100% cement with very
few windows, and some are built to allow the sunlight to pour in by creating an
entire wall of windows. One thing is certain, regardless of the exterior, we
Westerners can learn a lot from their interior space design and the freedom
that comes with the less-is-more mentality.
You can gain a better understanding of modern Japanese homes
by taking a stroll through the links below, which highlight 4 popular Japanese
house designed by Atelier Bow-Wow
designed by architect Kazuhiko Kishimoto
Kazuhiko’s designs are about blending with the natural
environment and are less modern looking than homes you’d see in cities like
Homes designed by architect Yo Yamagata
office with living quarters built on the top tier.
double house with a light well.
Homes designed by architect Tetsushi Tomanaga
Using the best of
the given space – light, airy.
A not so small
Resources and related sites:
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