Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mid-Century Architecture and Japanese Design

House designed by Rudolph Schindler
built 1922 in Los Angeles, California

A packed auditorium of slurping and smacking coffee drinkers were at The Lawrence Public Library today to hear author Patricia Graham’s talk about her new book Mid-Century Modern and Japanese Design

Graham’s book explores Japanese design and its influence on mid-century modern architecture constructed in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. 

As early as the 1920’s, architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright,  Rudolph Schindler, and Yoshimura Junzo embraced the traditional Japanese aesthetic found in Zen monasteries and retreats for the societal elite.  The mid-century modern architects in America, especially architects in California, were influenced by their predecessor's style and designed buildings that were sleek and modern with open spaces and built in features.  The architecture integrated outside landscaping within the overall design. 

A leading example of a traditional Japanese approach to architecture and interior spaces can be found at the 17th century Katsura Imperial Villa located near Kyoto, Japan.  Created as a summer retreat, these buildings have a sense of elegance and simplicity, lightness due to construction, natural wood, and built-in features.  Rooms were divided by sliding doors and were used for a variety of purposes.

Graham’s new book Mid-Century Modern and Japanese Design can be found at The Raven Bookstore

The 17th century Katsura Villa looks very modern
presently located in a suburb of Kyoto, Japan

Interior to one of the buildings at The Katsura Villa

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