Japanese/American architecture: a century of cultural exchange
Traditional Japanese architecture has had a significant impact on the development of both the physical forms and the underlying principles of American design. Much has been written about this Japanese influence, but only in passing in the general histories of American art and architecture, or in relationship to individual American architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright or Greene and Greene. It has not been discussed in a broader context. In addition, most studies of Japanese influence in American architecture have depended upon superficial visual resemblance and neglected seriously exploring the historical roads of migration, transmission, and dissemination of traditional Japanese forms and principles into American design.The primary aim of my dissertation is to analyze the specific nature of the Japanese impact on American architecture, and how it changed from 1854, when Japan opened its door to America, up to the present. Japanese impact on American landscape architecture will be analyzed in a limited scope, however, mainly focusing on the close relationship between the house and its surrounding gardens.During the given period, when American architects sought some external reference to solve their own vexing design problems, they selected certain Japanese forms and principles such as horizontality, plain walls, modular organization, built-in furniture, visible framed structure, open planning with movable partitions, interaction of house and garden, frank exploitation of wood, deep-overhanging eaves with exposed rafters, shoji-like grid and effect of shadows and Mused light. As their problems differed through the time, so were the ways they perceived Japanese architecture. These various perspectives are evident when one reads literature written by American critics on traditional Japanese architecture and when one investigates buildings built by American architects.
- Art history