Compelling, insightful and groundbreaking, this book is essential for everyone studying Japanese architecture and anyone trying to invoke narrative and tradition in contemporary design. Dana Buntrock began her studies of Japanese architecture more than twenty years ago, her first visit a month-long trip that took her to tiny corners of the country to see avant-garde and out-of-the-way works. Her more recent research trips still range in remote pockets of the country, now renting cars, carrying a complex array of cameras and seeking out craftsmen who carry on age-old traditions.
The architecture she sees is still often avant-garde, but today there are other approaches evident as well, ones more concerned with underscoring the uniqueness of these remote regions.
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Her second, Materials and Meaning in Contemporary Japanese Architecture Routledge, is concerned with the art and craft of architecture, and how these are used to reflect the particularities of places. Dana Buntrock. Outlandish Amateur Polished Professional.
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Looking Back at Japanis Radical Reds. Remaking the Landscape of Kotohira Shrine. However, the fluidity of terms and the flow of argument are two challenging aspects of the text.
While emphasizing context, materiality, and relations to tradition, Buntrock employs terms such as history, past, and tradition interchangeably without full acknowledgement of their nuanced distinctions. Similarly, approaches to context, material, and tradition are frequently conflated into an ambiguous notion of regionalism. Consequently, equating Red with regionalism requires a clearer definition of regionalism. It mines everyday life and perception for intentions about a truly progressive future.
It aims to sustain a close and continuous relationship between architecture and the local community it serves. Crucially, it learns from experience.
Materials and Meaning in Contemporary Japanese Architecture: Tradition and Today by Dana Buntrock
It tinkers, crafts, accepts, rejects, adjusts, reacts. It is immediately rooted in the tangible realities of its situation: the history, geography, human values, economy, traditions, technology and cultural life of a place.
As richly illustrated in the text, the Red School is notably exuberant and eclectic. Their eclecticism is further echoed in the way arguments, and images, are combined throughout the text. Buntrock is an astute observer intimately familiar with Japan, and Japanese discursive strategies appear to have infiltrated the text. This may present some challenges for readers anticipating an assisted linear tour through the eclectic terrain covered in the volume.
Despite minor encumbrances with the clarity of terms and discursive strategies, Materials and Meaning in Contemporary Japanese Architecture: Tradition and Today is a valuable contribution addressing a number of audiences—from architects and architecture aficionados to Japan scholars and enthusiasts.
It diversifies an understanding of contemporary Japanese architecture while explicating how architects relate projects to histories, traditions, and contexts. The book demonstrates how critics craft convincing categories to corral work to constructive ends. Please send comments about this review to editor.
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