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Thursday, July 24, 2003

Sliding the shoji

"Here I found what I had hoped to find in Japan - human equilibrium, calm and elegant proportions."
- Saul Bellow, entry in the Tawaraya ryokan guest book, Kyoto.


Today atok's reading (for the 2nd time) a beautifully illustrated book by Gabriele Fahr-Becker, RYOKAN - A Japanese Tradition. Ryokan is traditional Japanese inn, or travel lodge. The book is not about architecture per se, however, in discussing about ryokan, it gives a 'complete' insight of Japanese romantic and delicate traditions; painting, calligraphy, dance, geisha, tea ceremony, foodware, shrine, landscape, belief, inspirations as well as built environment.

In my opinion, Japanese culture (and architecture) is so deeply spritual and imbued with so much intrinsic values that one has to experience it first hand in order to have a meaningful understanding of its existence. Looking deeply into it is a very good start to decipher the concept of proportion, serenity, romantic, organic and many more; the key components for designers. No wonder it has produced the great FLlW.

"The reality of the building does not consist of roof and walls but in the space within to be lived in."
- Lao-tse(b. 604 BC)

"The reality of the building was not in its plans, sections or elevations, nor even in its perspective rendering, but in its space."
- FLlW (a paraphrase of Lao-tse's?)

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