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The Japanese Experience of Environmental Architecture through the Works of Bruno Taut and Antonin Raymond

The Japanese Experience of Environmental Architecture through the Works of Bruno Taut and Antonin... Around 1930 the Modern Movement in Architecture was widespread throughout Europe and America. The next and predictable step was the search for regions that were on the whole deprived of a firm sense of civil building procedures. To a certain extent, the tropics were such an area. Their authorities, mostly for want of social organization or techniques, welcomed the import of a new industrial system of construction which seemed efficient and unprejudiced, instead of creating their own ways from fear they might be old-fashioned. However, as modern fabrics had stemmed from temperate conditions the progress of these was hindered by unsuspected features of the tropical climate: monsoons, earthquakes and hot spells. In the present research, the authors hope to contribute to a careful examination of the designs conceived in Japan to overcome this major contradiction of modern architecture and to provide some hints for the future in Asia. This was done by using accepted scientific design methods such as computer simulation, duly tested by virtue of on-site measurements. As eminent illustrations we will discuss the works of Bruno Taut and Antonin Raymond that were subsequently extended to India or Turkey among other countries. Keywords: Tropical architecture; brise-soleil; eco-architecture; air-movement; lighting 1. Introduction It has often been stated that Asia is a continent of stark contrasts. This is clearly seen when we consider t h e e x t r e m e v a r i e t y o f i t s c l i m a t e s . Ta l l m a s s i f s perpetually powdered with snow (see Fig.1.) are compatible with a scorching summer heat and usually the driest winter is followed by an extreme degree of humidity in monsoon-marked weather. A s i n m a n y o t h e r r e g i o n s o f t h e w o r l d , A s i a n architecture has evolved throughout the years in accordance with these climatic conditions. However, we can make some important distinctions between regions, for instance in Japan reverence for the environment is the main notion of sacred architecture and thus, unlike other countries, such a feature is Fig.1. Temperatures inside an igloo constructed by more steadily reflected in temples than in civil or even Jose M. Cabeza in northern Japan. vernacular buildings. Notice how the outside temperature reaches -17.4 ºC There is a general belief supported by Shintô traditions that the land belongs to natural spirits (the to observe ceremonies like the tatemae (literally: kami ) and permission to dwell in a place should before construction). always be obtained by the builders. The way to receive Another example that witnesses the importance of this boon is to follow the architectural traditions and the environment for the Japanese is a chapter from old chronicles –Kojiki - mentioning that Amaterasu the Sun-Goddess, during a period of seclusion from *Contact Author: Jose Maria Cabeza Lainez, Professor of the worldly affairs, deprived the land of Light. Upon Her School of Architecture at the University of Seville, return, She bestowed on Her sibling, the first emperor 6-4-33, Fukui, Nishi-ku, 063-0012 Sapporo, Japan Ninigi-no-Mikoto, a holy mirror, spelling the words: Tel: +81-11-663 4943 Fax: +81-11-663-4943 "Regard this mirror exactly as if it were our august e-mail: wozzeck@arrakis.es spirit, and revere it as if revering us [1]". The mirror is ( Received October 17, 2006 ; accepted February 16, 2007 ) Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering/May 2007/40 33 treasured today at Ise Shrine as a pledge of the alliance The Shôji for instance is a wooden lattice, covered between humans and heaven. (Fig.2.). with panes of paper, relatively impervious and resistant I n J a p a n , C h i n a , I n d i a a n d o t h e r c o u n t r i e s t h e to the wind that works as a kind of sliding door and disposition of buildings in relation to the surroundings window, thus enabling ventilation (Figs.4. and 5.). f o l l o w e d a n a d r o i t s t r a t e g y o f n a t u r a l b a l a n c e The shôji is not transparent; our measurements sometimes related to geomancy like Feng-Shui indicate that its transmittance ranges from 0.5 to 0.6 or Vastu and to the observance of deeply rooted depending on time and weather condition. environmental rules. This entailed the use of natural Therefore, it helps to avoid unwanted glances but and auspicious materials in wall-claddings, roofs or at the same time the light is properly diffused. As it is floors and of course the provision of features to deal not glazed, the greenhouse effect associated with solar with rain, sunlight and the different environmental radiation is kept low. hazards. Fig.3. Antonin Raymond's studio in Karuizawa (Japan) an extraordinary vernacular adaptation of Le Corbusier's project for the Chilean Errazuriz House. An Autobiography, page 131 th Fig.2. A kind of mirror used in the Tang Dynasty (China 6 century) depicting the archetypal animals, the eight trigrams of the Yijing 经 and privileged orientations of Chinese astrology and Feng-Shui. A similar item was offered by rulers of South- China to the mythical Queen Himiko of Japan. (Catalogue of the Bogu Tu, from the Xuanhe era. Chinois 1114, chapter 30, page.14. Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Paris) Modern European technicians such as Hermann Muthesius, Josiah Conder, Bruno Taut and Antonin Raymond, upon their arrival in Japan pointed to these features as something uniquely Asian and well worth considering for architectural projects. th However at the beginning of the 20 century only the Fig.4. View of a typical Shoji (Photo: Jose M. Cabeza) Japanese Empire seemed to be an ideal territory for the establishment of modern architectural practices. Other places like China or India, except for the settlements around trade ports, continued to be closed to foreigners or had been discarded on account of social and political reasons. As could be expected, at this time Japan itself was again opened to the world after a long self-imposed period of isolation known as Sakoku and many of the outstanding environmental features of its building history were prone to change in a modernizing frenzy. Nevertheless, the well-informed architects that we have mentioned realized the potential that tradition- based design solutions had in the contemporary sphere. A strenuous effort was made by them to revitalize elements such as shoji, engawa, amado or ranma . (Fig.3.). Fig.5. Evening by Uemura Shoei (Fragment 1941). At dusk a woman opens the shoji in order to have enough light for sewing. Penelope Mason. History of Japanese Art. page 374 34 JAABE vol.6 no.1 May 2007 Jose Maria Cabeza Lainez 2. The Japanese sojourn of Bruno Taut Tokyo where he incorporated noki and engawa with a One such revival of traditional architecture was kind of light-shelf intended to ensure ventilation in the undertaken by Bruno Taut, a political refugee in Japan rainy periods. (Fig.7.). from 1933 to 1936, who immediately admitted that Taut had started as an industrial design teacher in "the modern Japanese have in their houses a quite right Japan and his models of lamps and furniture were sold point; the traditional Japanese house can no longer at the Miratiss shop in Tokyo. He was convinced that be inhabited by the current people of Japan…people lighting on the table at a Japanese traditional house, who sit in chairs and tables will no more stay crouched designed to live and work on the same tatami floor, under the kotatsu wearing several layers of kimonos was inadequate. Thus, his section with increased height or remain trembling in the house while the cold winter and clerestories would contribute to remedy this major winds whistle through the rattling shôji." [2] drawback boosting the production of European-style chairs and furniture, a curiosity at the time in Japan. We have simulated with our computer software [4] this section in winter and in summer to assess its performance (Figs.8., 9. and 10.) and have found i t l i k e l y t h a t t h e l e v e l s o f i l l u m i n a n c e w o u l d b e augmented as compared with the traditional façade when the sun is present. Fig.6. Window conceived as a folding screen designed by Bruno Taut at Hyuga House. Atami (Japan). (Photo: Jose M. Cabeza) Taut claimed that during the rainy season in Japan considered by many as "the most dangerous season" the air was "saturated with water, in no way cool, but hard and sultry". He even added: "as far as I know, there is not in Japan any newly built school, university or office building, public or private, that shows the minor trace that the Japanese climate has been considered for them. All office buildings have the windows closed during the hardest rain of the monsoon, and through the public buildings no wind runs, lecture theatres of the universities, which have no openings, lie with their wider side to the west, where Fig.7. Sketch for a section of the Okura Villa in Tokyo. Notice the afternoon sun impinges in a tough and lasting the patterns of sun-rays and shadow drawn by Bruno Taut and hotness on the professor and students already damp the case for venetian blinds. (Image from the article: New Japan with sweat and so on." [2] what its Architecture should be. Published in: Japan in Pictures Vol IV., Nº 11; November 1936) Consequently Taut devoted himself to the task of finding a modern idiom for the climatic elements of the Japanese house, especially in the aspects of ventilation, sun and light control (Fig.6.). In his 1936 book Houses and People of Japan Taut proposed the following: "After all it can't be terribly difficult to find an arrangement for simultaneously shading roofs and providing light for the rooms inside. You need only lay out a low row of windows above the fore-roof. Light can be easily regulated by means of blinds. In this way too, you could have ventilation during the day and fresh air at night. There would be no need to shut yourselves up in a box for fear of burglars then!" [3] Fig.8. Typical section used as model for the simulation of Taut's T h i s p r o c e s s o f t h i n k i n g c u l m i n a t e d w i t h h i s sketch for the Okura House in Tokyo protracted sketch for the façades of the Okura Villa in JAABE vol.6 no.1 May 2007 Jose Maria Cabeza Lainez 35 However, under a cloudy sky the level of light is very low and the effect sought by Taut may not have been realized. Even so, he maintained this section in some posthumous projects of 1938 for school buildings in Turkey (Ankara, Trabzon and Izmir, see Fig.11.). 3. The Architectural Oeuvre of Antonin Raymond Another important architect who took great pains to preserve a Japanese light in his projects was the Czech- American Antonin Raymond. Together with his wife, the artist Noemi Pernessin, they established a practice Fig.9. Summer sectional distribution of daylight at the Okura in Japan in 1920 that lasted until 1970. Villa. Values in lux As in the case of Bruno Taut, whom they apparently never met the Raymonds were always concerned with the use of natural materials adapted to the Japanese climate. In fact, this was the main source of problems in their association with Frank Lloyd Wright for the Imperial Hotel at Tokyo [5]. Antonin Raymond e x t r a c te d ma n y le s s o n s f o r h i s p r o j e ct s f r o m t h e traditional solutions that he knew so well as a result of his frequent trips and explorations in the Japanese countryside and also in China before the Pacific War. He was particularly concerned with ventilation and sunlight. In his 1938 book, Raymond adduced that: Fig.10. Winter sectional distribution of daylight at the Okura "The first principle which all great architecture Villa. Values in lux teaches us is to regard local conditions as the one known basic factor from which to start, and to allow the structure to take the most logical shape dictated by local conditions. Flowers and animals do thus in different climates." [5] B u t h i s g e n i u s w a s n o t r e s t r i c t e d t o J a p a n . I n 1 9 3 7 , f o r c e d b y t h e r i s e o f m i l i t a r i s m , h e l e f t Tokyo temporarily though he managed to build an extraordinary compound in Pondicherry (India), the Ashram for the guru Sri Aurobindo. Here in two tall blocks of dormitories for the disciples (Fig.16.), the first modern brise-soleil appears in all its magnitude. The drawing of Raymond explains succinctly that this façade is a "window arrangement for tropical Fig.11. One of the last works of Bruno Taut a High School in Izmir (Turkey), with overhangs and clerestory windows in the countries."[6] (Fig.14.). South façade. Photo: Kurt Junghanns. Bruno Taut 1880-1938. Berlin 1971. Fig. 318 Fig.12. A representative work by Raymond, the house for F. Fig.13. South-north Section of the Ashram for Sri Aurobindo. Inoue at Takasaki (Gunma Prefecture) with shoji and exposed Pondicherry (India). Hiroshi Misawa. The Architecture of timber frame. The Japan Architect 33, spring 1999, page 63 Antonin Raymond. page 85 36 JAABE vol.6 no.1 May 2007 Jose Maria Cabeza Lainez Fig.17. The brise soleil from the interior of the rooms facing south. Hiroshi Misawa. The Architecture of Antonin Raymond. page 84 Influenced by his intense experiences in Japan, China and later at Angkor Thom in Cambodia (see Fig.25.), [7] Raymond became aware of the importance of shadow and reflected light in Asia and thus adapted Fig.14. Detail of the wooden system for rotating the louvres of the properties of horizontal "mirrors" and stone railings the façade. Antonin Raymond. Architectural Details, page. 29 to buildings several storeys high. The performance of such a system was satisfactory when compared with a conventional window (See Fig.18.). Fig.15. The model produced in Japan for the Ashram Building. The Works of Kunio Maekawa. page 69 Fig.18. Simulation of the effect of blinds of different colours in Raymond's project (See Fig.17.), compared with a room without blinds oriented to the South and to the East. The project was first designed in Japan (Fig.15.) with the distinguished concurrence of the architect Kunio Maekawa, a former disciple of Le Corbusier. Nonetheless, Antonin Raymond, assisted by François Sammer and George Nakashima departed from the original plans and decided to cover the building with vaults of precast concrete to provide for a vented roof. The façade was exclusively composed of large horizontal louvers that enhanced cross ventilation and through their changes in texture soothed the modern fabric displayed in the two volumes of the complex. (Fig.13.). Stone from the local quarries and a touch of wood added a sense of warmth and intimacy that went far Fig.16. View from the north of the dormitories in the Ashram of Sri Aurobindo. Pondicherry, India. Notice the façade covered by beyond the rigid codes of industrial materials and raw blinds made of mineral fibre. An autobiography. page 165 concrete that prevailed in the latter modern buildings at JAABE vol.6 no.1 May 2007 Jose Maria Cabeza Lainez 37 Chandigarh and Ahmedabad (especially in those by Le Corbusier) (Fig.17.). The American Architect Benjamin Polk working extensively in India from 1952 to 1964 recognised that "the brise-soleil sun-protection system comes as an extension of the column and lintel from the nature of the structural concrete frame. It replaces the dust-collecting masonry open-work screens that h a v e b e c o m e a n a l m o s t e v e r p r e s e n t " p e t t i c o a t " laid over tropical buildings in the name of modern architecture."[8] Fig.20. The southern eaves of the temple at Ryôanji with light- coloured wooden rafters. (Photo: Jose M. Cabeza) 4. A Japanese Origin for Light Reflectors Both Taut and Raymond had admired the simplicity and cleanliness of Zen-style gardens. These gardens known as Karesansui are void spaces treated like a shallow pond filled with rocks and gravel that are generally set in front of the main hall of a temple. Their principle aim is to assist in Zen meditation by helping to concentrate the mind. We will not discuss here their many aesthetic or spiritual properties but we have observed that this type of garden is invariably oriented to the South and the colour of the sand employed to decorate it is always white or clear. We have applied our simulation method to this special compound of reflective surfaces and chose the famous precinct of Ryoanji in Kyôto, made of raked sand with a disposition of 15 rocks. (Fig.19.). At the temple, the enclosing southern eaves receive r e f l e c t e d r a d i a t i o n f r o m w h i t e q u a r t z s a n d . T h i s material is very porous and, consequently, it will not heat up as much as other materials. In summer values of around 8,000 lux have been measured on the underside of the wooden roof. (Fig.20.). We have conducted our simulation for a typical summer day considering intensities of up to 100,000 l u x o n t h e h o r i z o n t a l p l a n e [ 4 ] . T h e r e s u l t s ( S e e Fig.21.) closely agree with the measurements taken on Fig.21. Radiation field under the roof of the temple of Ryôanji the site. showing an average value of 5,000 lux. T h i s s i m u l a t i o n p r o v e s t h a t t h e d e s i g n o f t h e Karesansui greatly improves day-lighting inside the temple; the colour and orientation of the surface are not casual as the gardens in all other orientations are covered with moss of low albedo. On the other hand, the inclination of the roof reinforces the effect of conveying light to the main altar which is also composed of reflective materials like mirrors and gold leaf. The gardens of this type may constitute the first light-shelves in history. They come out of a spiritual n e e d f o r " e n l i g h t e n m e n t " ( s a t o r i ) b u t t h e y a l s o enhance physical illumination and may be the only resort in a near-tropical climate where another kind of disposition to reinforce light such as a skylight would be impractical because of heavy rain and high solar Fig.19. View to the south of the Garden of Ryôanji in Kyôto. altitudes. What is more, this reflection system helps to Notice the rocks apparently immersed in white gravel and the reduce the limitations of the shoji previously described. surrounding walls and trees. (Photo: Jose M. Cabeza) 38 JAABE vol.6 no.1 May 2007 Jose Maria Cabeza Lainez The Karesansui works equally well in summer A s h r a m d e s i g n e d b y R a y m o n d i n 1 9 3 6 w a s t h e and winter and it is indeed a "sacred place" because sole exception of a seminal work outside the area maintenance is difficult and expensive in the middle of of Chandigarh, Delhi, Ahmedabad or Bombay. As the luxuriant vegetation of Japanese woodland. such, for Southern India it came to be regarded as a Another name for Karesansui is Saniwa (sand unique and outstanding modern response to tropical garden) an old denomination of fortune-tellers in the architecture. Heian Era. Thus, the name suggests that important The building bears important similarities to the private ceremonies could have been celebrated there in project for the Ministry of Education in Rio by Lucio olden times. Costa, inspired by Le Corbusier, and to this matter we The timid attempts designed by Japanese architects have dedicated another article. [9] to find an alternative system of lighting represented f o r i n s t a n c e a t t h e M e m o r i a l o f t h e M e i j i G a i e n (The imperial Picture Gallery, Figs.22. and 23.) by Riki Sano soon proved impractical for the aforementioned reasons. I t i s t h e r e f o r e u n d e r s t a n d a b l e t h a t t h e m o d e r n European architects could reject such environmental connection systems and replace them with Japanese sources like the Saniwa or Karesansui. Fig.24. The Ministry of Education and Health in Rio de Janeiro. Arch. Lucio Costa. (Photo: Nelson Kon) Though it is likely that Le Corbusier's ideas could have been influential in the conception of the projects for both Pondicherry and Rio de Janeiro, it is clear Fig.22. Main façade of the Meiji Gaien Memorial in Tokyo. that based on the Asian experience Raymond's brise- Arch. R. Sano. (Photo: Jose M. Cabeza) soleil has performed better in time and does not show the inconveniences that affected the appreciation and maintenance of the louvre system of Rio de Janeiro. ( F i g . 2 4 . ) We c o u l d s u m m a r i z e t h e s e d i ff e r e n c e s by stating that Raymond's building was not merely rationalist but rooted in the deep architectural traditions of Asia while at the same time always echoing climatic conditions. T h e p r o j e c t s p r e s e n t e d b y Ta u t a n d R a y m o n d alleviated the concern that the Modern Movement's preoccupation with solving environmental affairs had disappeared. As a matter of fact, in many places, Fig.23. The vaulted skylight of the Picture Gallery in Meiji modern architects had yielded to a compromise that Gaien by R. Sano. Notice the dim effect of light in April. (Photo: Jose M. Cabeza) heralded standardized architecture. The same Kunio Maekawa, a former loyal member In several parts of the world independent experiences of Corbusier's and Raymond's Studios, even had to of the same matters were conducted by the end of the declare that: 1930's. Southeast Asia was one such place. As we have "Although Le Corbusier manifested that modern seen, in the remote French colony of Pondicherry (Tamil architecture is rationalist architecture, after all my Nadu) a building known as the Sri Aurobindo Ashram e x p e r i e n c e s I f e e l I h a v e s e e n t h e l i m i t o f s u c h marked a highpoint. architecture and realized that there is no use in its Although this simple, unassuming project served pursuit." [10] as a mighty counterpoint to modern debate, it passed almost unnoticed among the plethora of realizations witnessed by the country. Therefore the Sri Aurobindo JAABE vol.6 no.1 May 2007 Jose Maria Cabeza Lainez 39 5. Conclusions References 1) The Kojiki (Old Chronicles of Japan), translated by Chamberlain. Japanese traditional architecture is unique and truly (1981) Tuttle Books, p.130. environmental, thus, the modern architects whose 2) Taut, B. (2003) Ich Liebe die Japanische Kultur. Gebr. Mann careers developed in such a milieu performed with Verlag, pp.165-167. n a t u r a l s e n s i b i l i t y t o w a r d s t h e l o c a l c l i m a t e a n d 3) Taut, B. (1936) Houses and People of Japan (German Edition). atmosphere in a move that openly defied the postulates Sanseido, p.259. 4) Cabeza-Lainez, J. M. (2006) Fundamentals of Luminous Radiative of the so-called International Style. Transfer. Crowley Editions. This inclination manifests itself in many forgotten 5) Raymond, A. (1973). An Autobiography. Tuttle Books, p.155. w o r k s o f a r c h i t e c t s o b s c u r e d b y t h e P a c i f i c a n d 6) Misawa, H. (2005) Antonin Raymond Architectural Details. (In European Wars, which clearly predate regionalist Japanese), 119 . 7) Misawa, H. (1998) Antonin Raymond no Kenchiku. (In Japanese), movements in architecture. 84 . In this sense, both Taut and Raymond among others 8) P o l k , B . ( 1 9 9 3 ) B u i l d i n g f o r S o u t h A s i a . A n A r c h i t e c t u r a l can be considered as true pioneers of environmental Biography. Shakti Malik, p.28. architecture. 9) Almodovar-Melendo, J. M., Cabeza-Lainez, J. M., Jimenez- Following their theories and examples we have Verdejo, J. R. (2006) Lighting performance of Le Corbusier's Brise-Soleil at the Ministry of Education in Rio. Architectural striven to demonstrate with the help of contemporary Institute of Japan. (Under Review). simulation tools the efficacy of the solutions that were 10) The works of Kunio Maekawa. (2006), p.272. so inspirational in their work and that still continue to 11) Watsuji, T. (1979) Fûdo. Climate and Culture (in Japanese), 17 exert a positive influence on designers from all over the world who approach the questions of the environment 12) Tanizaki, J. (1977) In Praise of Shadows. Leete's Island Books. Stony Creek. . with naïve and contemplative eyes. To show once again the importance of Nature as a timeless source of expression in the Oriental mind we would finally like to draw the example of a rare Chinese-Japanese character which depicts the Sun, the Moon and a Mirror-like object; generally translated as "Alliance" ( Chinese Meng Japanese Mei), thus suggesting a lasting truce with Nature. Coda Following his countryman the novelist Tanizaki, the Japanese philosopher Watsuji forewarned in 1929: "Neither climate can be separated from history nor history can be separated from climate."[11, 12] Fig.25. Stone balusters at a window (Angkor Wat). (Photo: Jose M. Cabeza) 40 JAABE vol.6 no.1 May 2007 Jose Maria Cabeza Lainez http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering Taylor & Francis

The Japanese Experience of Environmental Architecture through the Works of Bruno Taut and Antonin Raymond

The Japanese Experience of Environmental Architecture through the Works of Bruno Taut and Antonin Raymond

Abstract

AbstractAround 1930 the Modern Movement in Architecture was widespread throughout Europe and America. The next and predictable step was the search for regions that were on the whole deprived of a firm sense of civil building procedures. To a certain extent, the tropics were such an area. Their authorities, mostly for want of social organization or techniques, welcomed the import of a new industrial system of construction which seemed efficient and unprejudiced, instead of creating their own...
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Taylor & Francis
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10.3130/jaabe.6.33
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Abstract

Around 1930 the Modern Movement in Architecture was widespread throughout Europe and America. The next and predictable step was the search for regions that were on the whole deprived of a firm sense of civil building procedures. To a certain extent, the tropics were such an area. Their authorities, mostly for want of social organization or techniques, welcomed the import of a new industrial system of construction which seemed efficient and unprejudiced, instead of creating their own ways from fear they might be old-fashioned. However, as modern fabrics had stemmed from temperate conditions the progress of these was hindered by unsuspected features of the tropical climate: monsoons, earthquakes and hot spells. In the present research, the authors hope to contribute to a careful examination of the designs conceived in Japan to overcome this major contradiction of modern architecture and to provide some hints for the future in Asia. This was done by using accepted scientific design methods such as computer simulation, duly tested by virtue of on-site measurements. As eminent illustrations we will discuss the works of Bruno Taut and Antonin Raymond that were subsequently extended to India or Turkey among other countries. Keywords: Tropical architecture; brise-soleil; eco-architecture; air-movement; lighting 1. Introduction It has often been stated that Asia is a continent of stark contrasts. This is clearly seen when we consider t h e e x t r e m e v a r i e t y o f i t s c l i m a t e s . Ta l l m a s s i f s perpetually powdered with snow (see Fig.1.) are compatible with a scorching summer heat and usually the driest winter is followed by an extreme degree of humidity in monsoon-marked weather. A s i n m a n y o t h e r r e g i o n s o f t h e w o r l d , A s i a n architecture has evolved throughout the years in accordance with these climatic conditions. However, we can make some important distinctions between regions, for instance in Japan reverence for the environment is the main notion of sacred architecture and thus, unlike other countries, such a feature is Fig.1. Temperatures inside an igloo constructed by more steadily reflected in temples than in civil or even Jose M. Cabeza in northern Japan. vernacular buildings. Notice how the outside temperature reaches -17.4 ºC There is a general belief supported by Shintô traditions that the land belongs to natural spirits (the to observe ceremonies like the tatemae (literally: kami ) and permission to dwell in a place should before construction). always be obtained by the builders. The way to receive Another example that witnesses the importance of this boon is to follow the architectural traditions and the environment for the Japanese is a chapter from old chronicles –Kojiki - mentioning that Amaterasu the Sun-Goddess, during a period of seclusion from *Contact Author: Jose Maria Cabeza Lainez, Professor of the worldly affairs, deprived the land of Light. Upon Her School of Architecture at the University of Seville, return, She bestowed on Her sibling, the first emperor 6-4-33, Fukui, Nishi-ku, 063-0012 Sapporo, Japan Ninigi-no-Mikoto, a holy mirror, spelling the words: Tel: +81-11-663 4943 Fax: +81-11-663-4943 "Regard this mirror exactly as if it were our august e-mail: wozzeck@arrakis.es spirit, and revere it as if revering us [1]". The mirror is ( Received October 17, 2006 ; accepted February 16, 2007 ) Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering/May 2007/40 33 treasured today at Ise Shrine as a pledge of the alliance The Shôji for instance is a wooden lattice, covered between humans and heaven. (Fig.2.). with panes of paper, relatively impervious and resistant I n J a p a n , C h i n a , I n d i a a n d o t h e r c o u n t r i e s t h e to the wind that works as a kind of sliding door and disposition of buildings in relation to the surroundings window, thus enabling ventilation (Figs.4. and 5.). f o l l o w e d a n a d r o i t s t r a t e g y o f n a t u r a l b a l a n c e The shôji is not transparent; our measurements sometimes related to geomancy like Feng-Shui indicate that its transmittance ranges from 0.5 to 0.6 or Vastu and to the observance of deeply rooted depending on time and weather condition. environmental rules. This entailed the use of natural Therefore, it helps to avoid unwanted glances but and auspicious materials in wall-claddings, roofs or at the same time the light is properly diffused. As it is floors and of course the provision of features to deal not glazed, the greenhouse effect associated with solar with rain, sunlight and the different environmental radiation is kept low. hazards. Fig.3. Antonin Raymond's studio in Karuizawa (Japan) an extraordinary vernacular adaptation of Le Corbusier's project for the Chilean Errazuriz House. An Autobiography, page 131 th Fig.2. A kind of mirror used in the Tang Dynasty (China 6 century) depicting the archetypal animals, the eight trigrams of the Yijing 经 and privileged orientations of Chinese astrology and Feng-Shui. A similar item was offered by rulers of South- China to the mythical Queen Himiko of Japan. (Catalogue of the Bogu Tu, from the Xuanhe era. Chinois 1114, chapter 30, page.14. Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Paris) Modern European technicians such as Hermann Muthesius, Josiah Conder, Bruno Taut and Antonin Raymond, upon their arrival in Japan pointed to these features as something uniquely Asian and well worth considering for architectural projects. th However at the beginning of the 20 century only the Fig.4. View of a typical Shoji (Photo: Jose M. Cabeza) Japanese Empire seemed to be an ideal territory for the establishment of modern architectural practices. Other places like China or India, except for the settlements around trade ports, continued to be closed to foreigners or had been discarded on account of social and political reasons. As could be expected, at this time Japan itself was again opened to the world after a long self-imposed period of isolation known as Sakoku and many of the outstanding environmental features of its building history were prone to change in a modernizing frenzy. Nevertheless, the well-informed architects that we have mentioned realized the potential that tradition- based design solutions had in the contemporary sphere. A strenuous effort was made by them to revitalize elements such as shoji, engawa, amado or ranma . (Fig.3.). Fig.5. Evening by Uemura Shoei (Fragment 1941). At dusk a woman opens the shoji in order to have enough light for sewing. Penelope Mason. History of Japanese Art. page 374 34 JAABE vol.6 no.1 May 2007 Jose Maria Cabeza Lainez 2. The Japanese sojourn of Bruno Taut Tokyo where he incorporated noki and engawa with a One such revival of traditional architecture was kind of light-shelf intended to ensure ventilation in the undertaken by Bruno Taut, a political refugee in Japan rainy periods. (Fig.7.). from 1933 to 1936, who immediately admitted that Taut had started as an industrial design teacher in "the modern Japanese have in their houses a quite right Japan and his models of lamps and furniture were sold point; the traditional Japanese house can no longer at the Miratiss shop in Tokyo. He was convinced that be inhabited by the current people of Japan…people lighting on the table at a Japanese traditional house, who sit in chairs and tables will no more stay crouched designed to live and work on the same tatami floor, under the kotatsu wearing several layers of kimonos was inadequate. Thus, his section with increased height or remain trembling in the house while the cold winter and clerestories would contribute to remedy this major winds whistle through the rattling shôji." [2] drawback boosting the production of European-style chairs and furniture, a curiosity at the time in Japan. We have simulated with our computer software [4] this section in winter and in summer to assess its performance (Figs.8., 9. and 10.) and have found i t l i k e l y t h a t t h e l e v e l s o f i l l u m i n a n c e w o u l d b e augmented as compared with the traditional façade when the sun is present. Fig.6. Window conceived as a folding screen designed by Bruno Taut at Hyuga House. Atami (Japan). (Photo: Jose M. Cabeza) Taut claimed that during the rainy season in Japan considered by many as "the most dangerous season" the air was "saturated with water, in no way cool, but hard and sultry". He even added: "as far as I know, there is not in Japan any newly built school, university or office building, public or private, that shows the minor trace that the Japanese climate has been considered for them. All office buildings have the windows closed during the hardest rain of the monsoon, and through the public buildings no wind runs, lecture theatres of the universities, which have no openings, lie with their wider side to the west, where Fig.7. Sketch for a section of the Okura Villa in Tokyo. Notice the afternoon sun impinges in a tough and lasting the patterns of sun-rays and shadow drawn by Bruno Taut and hotness on the professor and students already damp the case for venetian blinds. (Image from the article: New Japan with sweat and so on." [2] what its Architecture should be. Published in: Japan in Pictures Vol IV., Nº 11; November 1936) Consequently Taut devoted himself to the task of finding a modern idiom for the climatic elements of the Japanese house, especially in the aspects of ventilation, sun and light control (Fig.6.). In his 1936 book Houses and People of Japan Taut proposed the following: "After all it can't be terribly difficult to find an arrangement for simultaneously shading roofs and providing light for the rooms inside. You need only lay out a low row of windows above the fore-roof. Light can be easily regulated by means of blinds. In this way too, you could have ventilation during the day and fresh air at night. There would be no need to shut yourselves up in a box for fear of burglars then!" [3] Fig.8. Typical section used as model for the simulation of Taut's T h i s p r o c e s s o f t h i n k i n g c u l m i n a t e d w i t h h i s sketch for the Okura House in Tokyo protracted sketch for the façades of the Okura Villa in JAABE vol.6 no.1 May 2007 Jose Maria Cabeza Lainez 35 However, under a cloudy sky the level of light is very low and the effect sought by Taut may not have been realized. Even so, he maintained this section in some posthumous projects of 1938 for school buildings in Turkey (Ankara, Trabzon and Izmir, see Fig.11.). 3. The Architectural Oeuvre of Antonin Raymond Another important architect who took great pains to preserve a Japanese light in his projects was the Czech- American Antonin Raymond. Together with his wife, the artist Noemi Pernessin, they established a practice Fig.9. Summer sectional distribution of daylight at the Okura in Japan in 1920 that lasted until 1970. Villa. Values in lux As in the case of Bruno Taut, whom they apparently never met the Raymonds were always concerned with the use of natural materials adapted to the Japanese climate. In fact, this was the main source of problems in their association with Frank Lloyd Wright for the Imperial Hotel at Tokyo [5]. Antonin Raymond e x t r a c te d ma n y le s s o n s f o r h i s p r o j e ct s f r o m t h e traditional solutions that he knew so well as a result of his frequent trips and explorations in the Japanese countryside and also in China before the Pacific War. He was particularly concerned with ventilation and sunlight. In his 1938 book, Raymond adduced that: Fig.10. Winter sectional distribution of daylight at the Okura "The first principle which all great architecture Villa. Values in lux teaches us is to regard local conditions as the one known basic factor from which to start, and to allow the structure to take the most logical shape dictated by local conditions. Flowers and animals do thus in different climates." [5] B u t h i s g e n i u s w a s n o t r e s t r i c t e d t o J a p a n . I n 1 9 3 7 , f o r c e d b y t h e r i s e o f m i l i t a r i s m , h e l e f t Tokyo temporarily though he managed to build an extraordinary compound in Pondicherry (India), the Ashram for the guru Sri Aurobindo. Here in two tall blocks of dormitories for the disciples (Fig.16.), the first modern brise-soleil appears in all its magnitude. The drawing of Raymond explains succinctly that this façade is a "window arrangement for tropical Fig.11. One of the last works of Bruno Taut a High School in Izmir (Turkey), with overhangs and clerestory windows in the countries."[6] (Fig.14.). South façade. Photo: Kurt Junghanns. Bruno Taut 1880-1938. Berlin 1971. Fig. 318 Fig.12. A representative work by Raymond, the house for F. Fig.13. South-north Section of the Ashram for Sri Aurobindo. Inoue at Takasaki (Gunma Prefecture) with shoji and exposed Pondicherry (India). Hiroshi Misawa. The Architecture of timber frame. The Japan Architect 33, spring 1999, page 63 Antonin Raymond. page 85 36 JAABE vol.6 no.1 May 2007 Jose Maria Cabeza Lainez Fig.17. The brise soleil from the interior of the rooms facing south. Hiroshi Misawa. The Architecture of Antonin Raymond. page 84 Influenced by his intense experiences in Japan, China and later at Angkor Thom in Cambodia (see Fig.25.), [7] Raymond became aware of the importance of shadow and reflected light in Asia and thus adapted Fig.14. Detail of the wooden system for rotating the louvres of the properties of horizontal "mirrors" and stone railings the façade. Antonin Raymond. Architectural Details, page. 29 to buildings several storeys high. The performance of such a system was satisfactory when compared with a conventional window (See Fig.18.). Fig.15. The model produced in Japan for the Ashram Building. The Works of Kunio Maekawa. page 69 Fig.18. Simulation of the effect of blinds of different colours in Raymond's project (See Fig.17.), compared with a room without blinds oriented to the South and to the East. The project was first designed in Japan (Fig.15.) with the distinguished concurrence of the architect Kunio Maekawa, a former disciple of Le Corbusier. Nonetheless, Antonin Raymond, assisted by François Sammer and George Nakashima departed from the original plans and decided to cover the building with vaults of precast concrete to provide for a vented roof. The façade was exclusively composed of large horizontal louvers that enhanced cross ventilation and through their changes in texture soothed the modern fabric displayed in the two volumes of the complex. (Fig.13.). Stone from the local quarries and a touch of wood added a sense of warmth and intimacy that went far Fig.16. View from the north of the dormitories in the Ashram of Sri Aurobindo. Pondicherry, India. Notice the façade covered by beyond the rigid codes of industrial materials and raw blinds made of mineral fibre. An autobiography. page 165 concrete that prevailed in the latter modern buildings at JAABE vol.6 no.1 May 2007 Jose Maria Cabeza Lainez 37 Chandigarh and Ahmedabad (especially in those by Le Corbusier) (Fig.17.). The American Architect Benjamin Polk working extensively in India from 1952 to 1964 recognised that "the brise-soleil sun-protection system comes as an extension of the column and lintel from the nature of the structural concrete frame. It replaces the dust-collecting masonry open-work screens that h a v e b e c o m e a n a l m o s t e v e r p r e s e n t " p e t t i c o a t " laid over tropical buildings in the name of modern architecture."[8] Fig.20. The southern eaves of the temple at Ryôanji with light- coloured wooden rafters. (Photo: Jose M. Cabeza) 4. A Japanese Origin for Light Reflectors Both Taut and Raymond had admired the simplicity and cleanliness of Zen-style gardens. These gardens known as Karesansui are void spaces treated like a shallow pond filled with rocks and gravel that are generally set in front of the main hall of a temple. Their principle aim is to assist in Zen meditation by helping to concentrate the mind. We will not discuss here their many aesthetic or spiritual properties but we have observed that this type of garden is invariably oriented to the South and the colour of the sand employed to decorate it is always white or clear. We have applied our simulation method to this special compound of reflective surfaces and chose the famous precinct of Ryoanji in Kyôto, made of raked sand with a disposition of 15 rocks. (Fig.19.). At the temple, the enclosing southern eaves receive r e f l e c t e d r a d i a t i o n f r o m w h i t e q u a r t z s a n d . T h i s material is very porous and, consequently, it will not heat up as much as other materials. In summer values of around 8,000 lux have been measured on the underside of the wooden roof. (Fig.20.). We have conducted our simulation for a typical summer day considering intensities of up to 100,000 l u x o n t h e h o r i z o n t a l p l a n e [ 4 ] . T h e r e s u l t s ( S e e Fig.21.) closely agree with the measurements taken on Fig.21. Radiation field under the roof of the temple of Ryôanji the site. showing an average value of 5,000 lux. T h i s s i m u l a t i o n p r o v e s t h a t t h e d e s i g n o f t h e Karesansui greatly improves day-lighting inside the temple; the colour and orientation of the surface are not casual as the gardens in all other orientations are covered with moss of low albedo. On the other hand, the inclination of the roof reinforces the effect of conveying light to the main altar which is also composed of reflective materials like mirrors and gold leaf. The gardens of this type may constitute the first light-shelves in history. They come out of a spiritual n e e d f o r " e n l i g h t e n m e n t " ( s a t o r i ) b u t t h e y a l s o enhance physical illumination and may be the only resort in a near-tropical climate where another kind of disposition to reinforce light such as a skylight would be impractical because of heavy rain and high solar Fig.19. View to the south of the Garden of Ryôanji in Kyôto. altitudes. What is more, this reflection system helps to Notice the rocks apparently immersed in white gravel and the reduce the limitations of the shoji previously described. surrounding walls and trees. (Photo: Jose M. Cabeza) 38 JAABE vol.6 no.1 May 2007 Jose Maria Cabeza Lainez The Karesansui works equally well in summer A s h r a m d e s i g n e d b y R a y m o n d i n 1 9 3 6 w a s t h e and winter and it is indeed a "sacred place" because sole exception of a seminal work outside the area maintenance is difficult and expensive in the middle of of Chandigarh, Delhi, Ahmedabad or Bombay. As the luxuriant vegetation of Japanese woodland. such, for Southern India it came to be regarded as a Another name for Karesansui is Saniwa (sand unique and outstanding modern response to tropical garden) an old denomination of fortune-tellers in the architecture. Heian Era. Thus, the name suggests that important The building bears important similarities to the private ceremonies could have been celebrated there in project for the Ministry of Education in Rio by Lucio olden times. Costa, inspired by Le Corbusier, and to this matter we The timid attempts designed by Japanese architects have dedicated another article. [9] to find an alternative system of lighting represented f o r i n s t a n c e a t t h e M e m o r i a l o f t h e M e i j i G a i e n (The imperial Picture Gallery, Figs.22. and 23.) by Riki Sano soon proved impractical for the aforementioned reasons. I t i s t h e r e f o r e u n d e r s t a n d a b l e t h a t t h e m o d e r n European architects could reject such environmental connection systems and replace them with Japanese sources like the Saniwa or Karesansui. Fig.24. The Ministry of Education and Health in Rio de Janeiro. Arch. Lucio Costa. (Photo: Nelson Kon) Though it is likely that Le Corbusier's ideas could have been influential in the conception of the projects for both Pondicherry and Rio de Janeiro, it is clear Fig.22. Main façade of the Meiji Gaien Memorial in Tokyo. that based on the Asian experience Raymond's brise- Arch. R. Sano. (Photo: Jose M. Cabeza) soleil has performed better in time and does not show the inconveniences that affected the appreciation and maintenance of the louvre system of Rio de Janeiro. ( F i g . 2 4 . ) We c o u l d s u m m a r i z e t h e s e d i ff e r e n c e s by stating that Raymond's building was not merely rationalist but rooted in the deep architectural traditions of Asia while at the same time always echoing climatic conditions. T h e p r o j e c t s p r e s e n t e d b y Ta u t a n d R a y m o n d alleviated the concern that the Modern Movement's preoccupation with solving environmental affairs had disappeared. As a matter of fact, in many places, Fig.23. The vaulted skylight of the Picture Gallery in Meiji modern architects had yielded to a compromise that Gaien by R. Sano. Notice the dim effect of light in April. (Photo: Jose M. Cabeza) heralded standardized architecture. The same Kunio Maekawa, a former loyal member In several parts of the world independent experiences of Corbusier's and Raymond's Studios, even had to of the same matters were conducted by the end of the declare that: 1930's. Southeast Asia was one such place. As we have "Although Le Corbusier manifested that modern seen, in the remote French colony of Pondicherry (Tamil architecture is rationalist architecture, after all my Nadu) a building known as the Sri Aurobindo Ashram e x p e r i e n c e s I f e e l I h a v e s e e n t h e l i m i t o f s u c h marked a highpoint. architecture and realized that there is no use in its Although this simple, unassuming project served pursuit." [10] as a mighty counterpoint to modern debate, it passed almost unnoticed among the plethora of realizations witnessed by the country. Therefore the Sri Aurobindo JAABE vol.6 no.1 May 2007 Jose Maria Cabeza Lainez 39 5. Conclusions References 1) The Kojiki (Old Chronicles of Japan), translated by Chamberlain. Japanese traditional architecture is unique and truly (1981) Tuttle Books, p.130. environmental, thus, the modern architects whose 2) Taut, B. (2003) Ich Liebe die Japanische Kultur. Gebr. Mann careers developed in such a milieu performed with Verlag, pp.165-167. n a t u r a l s e n s i b i l i t y t o w a r d s t h e l o c a l c l i m a t e a n d 3) Taut, B. (1936) Houses and People of Japan (German Edition). atmosphere in a move that openly defied the postulates Sanseido, p.259. 4) Cabeza-Lainez, J. M. (2006) Fundamentals of Luminous Radiative of the so-called International Style. Transfer. Crowley Editions. This inclination manifests itself in many forgotten 5) Raymond, A. (1973). An Autobiography. Tuttle Books, p.155. w o r k s o f a r c h i t e c t s o b s c u r e d b y t h e P a c i f i c a n d 6) Misawa, H. (2005) Antonin Raymond Architectural Details. (In European Wars, which clearly predate regionalist Japanese), 119 . 7) Misawa, H. (1998) Antonin Raymond no Kenchiku. (In Japanese), movements in architecture. 84 . In this sense, both Taut and Raymond among others 8) P o l k , B . ( 1 9 9 3 ) B u i l d i n g f o r S o u t h A s i a . A n A r c h i t e c t u r a l can be considered as true pioneers of environmental Biography. Shakti Malik, p.28. architecture. 9) Almodovar-Melendo, J. M., Cabeza-Lainez, J. M., Jimenez- Following their theories and examples we have Verdejo, J. R. (2006) Lighting performance of Le Corbusier's Brise-Soleil at the Ministry of Education in Rio. Architectural striven to demonstrate with the help of contemporary Institute of Japan. (Under Review). simulation tools the efficacy of the solutions that were 10) The works of Kunio Maekawa. (2006), p.272. so inspirational in their work and that still continue to 11) Watsuji, T. (1979) Fûdo. Climate and Culture (in Japanese), 17 exert a positive influence on designers from all over the world who approach the questions of the environment 12) Tanizaki, J. (1977) In Praise of Shadows. Leete's Island Books. Stony Creek. . with naïve and contemplative eyes. To show once again the importance of Nature as a timeless source of expression in the Oriental mind we would finally like to draw the example of a rare Chinese-Japanese character which depicts the Sun, the Moon and a Mirror-like object; generally translated as "Alliance" ( Chinese Meng Japanese Mei), thus suggesting a lasting truce with Nature. Coda Following his countryman the novelist Tanizaki, the Japanese philosopher Watsuji forewarned in 1929: "Neither climate can be separated from history nor history can be separated from climate."[11, 12] Fig.25. Stone balusters at a window (Angkor Wat). (Photo: Jose M. Cabeza) 40 JAABE vol.6 no.1 May 2007 Jose Maria Cabeza Lainez

Journal

Journal of Asian Architecture and Building EngineeringTaylor & Francis

Published: May 1, 2007

Keywords: Tropical architecture; brise-soleil; eco-architecture; air-movement; lighting

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