We promote Japanese culture and architecture in Russia. What is so special about Japanese architects? What is the main feature of their approach?
They start creating based on its peculiarities, its history, its energy. They don’t just create a building and then try to fit it into some context, but take into account the mutual influence: how the space determines the appearance of a new form in it and how that object will influence the space.
This is one of the principles of organic architecture that was founded by Frank Lloyd Wright, an American architect of the first half of the twentieth century. Wright was inspired by Japanese culture and history, and turned to be an inspiration for a whole number of Japanese architects. In fact, Wright distilled and conceptualized the basic components of organic architecture that were intrinsic to Japanese architecture. It has defined these principles a long time ago and put them at the heart of the absolute harmony that has become the essence of Japanese culture.
The basic principle of organic architecture is the integrity and unity with nature. Wright professed the idea of continuity of architectural space in contrast to the tradition of classical architecture where a building and its parts are deliberately isolated from the surrounding world. Organic architecture requires that the form of the building should always be derived from its specific purpose and those unique environmental conditions where the building was constructed and exists at the moment, and materials should be used according to their natural properties.
Also the organic architecture embraces the Japanese thesis stating “getting rid of the unimportant” and “everything superfluous is unsightly”. In the Japanese house Wright saw the ultimate example of how to eliminate unimportant, trivial and confusing things in the design. Moreover, he discovered the previously hidden power of expression in the purely functional components, which often went unnoticed.
Getting rid of all superfluous things, cutting forms – these principles lie at the heart of Japanese minimalism, but has its roots in Zen Buddhism, in which emptiness is not a flaw, but rather has a special, sacred meaning: it contains the divine presence.
Although Japanese minimalism may look simple sometimes, in practice it is far from that. It is very difficult to make clean minimalist forms, and at the same time introduce complex nodes and the most modern technology. In Japanese minimalism, everything is always super-technological and elaborated. The Japanese also know how to work with different materials, combine textures and shapes, they know how to convey the beauty of modest and unadorned materials.
In addition to the place, Japanese architecture puts a great emphasis on who will live in a building and what kind of activities will happen there. a person and his values have primary importance, and the space is created for him. Getting rid of things and minimalism serve as a background for the person, do not disturb him and give the feeling of freedom and peace.
The whole idea of the future building unfolds from the person and his tasks, as well as from the place and its features. The form is created based on these ideas. Thus, Japanese architects are always guided by the context – external (a location) and internal (people’s lives). Japanese architecture is the design of life in a dedicated space.
More about the principles of Japanese architecture you can read in our article.