The elegant Japanese House: Traditional Sukiya Architecture


This is more than a review, it is an strong suggestion. This book was introduced to me by prof.Stewart, during his MOOC class about Modern Japanese Architecture, and it is astonishing beautiful.

Authors are Teiji Itoh & Yukio Futagawa, published back in 1969, by Tankosha.

Why pointing out this book? Let me cite a passage from it, pg 107.

“It may be well to summarize here the achievements of the sukiya style that particularly enabled it to play a role in the transition to modern styles. In the first place, it began as a strongly individualistic style and was, as he have seen, the only style of Japanese architecture that develop a nomenclature based on the names of its designers – that is, the konomi which has been discussed in an earlier chapter. In the second place, the sukiya is the only style in the history of Japanese architecture that transcended the boundaries of social class, for it was applied to the houses of townsmen and the villas of the aristocracy alike and to such public buildings as restaurants and inns. In the third place, the sukiya-style building, both in its harmony of structure and in its emphasis on the natural beauty of its materials, originated a code of values that endures even today.”

I bolded the part that is indisputably holds true, since when it comes to easthetics, the core values differs from culture to culture, and grasping the japanese ones is essential to understand their realization within the Architecture field.

The Rossini`s paradigm


This may seems off topic but is is relevant to some previous posts. A paradigm, is not a common word, let say that a paradigm is an example so clear and so well understood that could be used to measure other phenomenons. This wide definition of paradigm can be applied to history, science, arts and so on.

In this case I wish to explain why I associate paradigm to the person of Rossini. Rossini was a music composer, he lived in the 18th century, born in a small town in 1792  named Pesaro. His career was fast as a flash. I think most of you know about Mozart than of Rossini but really he is the one considered had made opera becoming the modern Opera.

He was only 14 when he composed his first opera.! The big contract with a theatre came ad the age of 23, in 1815. Wikipedia voice is fairly correct even if many of his operas went lost so I am not sure about the 39 cited there. If you think for a second that composing an opera is not as easy as writing a blog; even nowadays not every musician has the skills to write a whole opera, and he did it when he was a kid.

Until now it is just a list of things, dates and numbers.

In 1823 twelve of his operas were already represented in Paris, and when he moved there he was alredy a star…but, guys, he was just 29 years old, and the king wanted him to take over an historical theatre in Paris (the Theatre Italien), that precisely happened one year later, on 1824. And what do you think happened in Paris?

“A large sector of the press was against him, more for chauvinistc than for musical reason”(The Golden Century of Italian Opera, by William Weaver, Thames and Hudson Ltd, London, 1980)

It is known that his talent and his skills were two steps ahead to his musicians competitors, but had they recognized his greatness? What sort of advantage could have been taken from that? None. They had but negative points on their side thus they threw their jealousy, a human feeling, like stones toward him. Luckily with the audience on his side Rossini lived in the French capital quite a good life.

So here are two facts. Being the best, and coming from another country makes the Rossini career a sort of paradigm that can be applied to similar situations.

Was he a likeable and pleasent man or not, it does not make any difference for this purpose. I am sure most of you can gauge others stories as well in other countries , times and arts or sports…

Then you can add much more details to this story, for instance the huge difference at that time between Paris and Rome; the latter one was almost like a huge village in the early years of 19th century, the Pope was not particularly happy of the ideas of coming from the last revolutions.

[As you may not know, the Italian State was at the time, just an utopia, and when it was founded 50 years later, it was against the Pope, and against the religion…just to mention an hot topic that many Italians seems to forget these days…]

…could the Rosssini paradigm be applied to mrs Hadid, which happens to embody even a greater challenge than the one won by Rossini ?

three factors. Foreigner, best, and…woman.

Unfortunately  I made the association after having read an article on the english version of the yomiuri shimbun.

An article that if it was published on a western paper would be ridiculous, almost defamatory…and that reminds me the 1824, Paris….

I think the politicians have all the right to change decision in spite of whatever reason they need. Another story is letting some japanese architects to mount conclusion based on fallacious stereotypes: we all make fallacious decisions. Another one, just a step too further for western standards, to minimize with insults.

…I was forgotting a link to watch a Rossini`s Opera, the Guglielmo Tell at the ROF, in french with german subtitles.

 

 

Old style house within Tokyo。根津神社


IMGP2524Going to Nezu Shrine for the first year celebration – I met this old building, so this new year picture is dedicated to old style architecture or vernacular

100 years ago the whole Tokyo was like that house.

Here below the Nezu temple (jinjia, 神社)

IMGP2546