Today, when we think of Japanese architecture, images of a temple or a pagoda come to mind quite naturally. Some will also have in mind more contemporary works: the massive, modular, rough-cut concrete sails of Ando Tadao, the lighter architecture of Ito Toyo, Sejima Kazuyo or the elaborate facades of Kuma Kengo, to name but a few. A surprising generational, even historical, gap seems to have opened up between the images of a very emblematic traditional architecture in which wood is the material of choice, and the more current images of innovative projects in which its use is reduced. In Japan, although the carpenter was for a long time the main contractor, contemporary architectural culture seems to have forgotten this constructive knowledge accumulated over centuries. This is also true of many other fields of art, such as music – Japanese children are more likely to learn the piano or the violin than the shamisen or the koto – painting and sculpture, which have been taught according to Western standards since the Meiji reform at the end of the 19th century. The decline of craftsmanship, industrialisation and the modernisation of knowledge and techniques are phenomena that can be observed on a global scale today, but in the case of Japan in particular, the contrast between what remains of an ancient heritage and what is being built in the majority of Japanese cities is striking, even worrying.
Auteurs : Benoît Jacquet, Teruaki Matsuzaki, Manuel Tardits
Parution en novembre 2021 aux éditions EPFL Press