japonisme: it is to laugh, and to wonder

30 March 2007

it is to laugh, and to wonder

greene and greene knew that their designs were influenced by the japanese--they had been forever altered in their career paths after seeing japanese work at the world expositions.


they studied japanese joinery, stone work, and even philosophy.





frank lloyd wright knew his work was influenced by the japanese. he knew their value of using native materials, he collected prints for years, and even made a pilgrimage to japan.


and yet still each is lauded for having, essentially, created a "new american architecture" independent of any historical standards.

Greene & Greene designs strongly influenced California’s archi- tectural heritage, their work has had international significance as well, inspiring countless architects and designers around the world through a legacy of extant structures, scholarly books and articles.

They were recognized by the American Institute of Architects in 1952 for contributing to a "new and native architecture" and are generally credited with fostering a new way of considering buildings and their furnishings as examples of artistic craft. 1

The Prairie School was a primarily residential architectural movement that began in Chicago yet rapidly spread across the Midwest. Ultimately its influence was felt around the world—most especially in north-central Europe and Australia....

A second factor nourishing the emergence of the Prairie School was the existence of a small group of dedicated individuals obsessed with the idea of creating a new American architecture, an architecture appropriate to the American Midwest and independent of historical styles.

The movement attracted more than a score of young men and women, the best known being Louis H. Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. 2



The years between 1902 and 1909 were extremely busy for the firm, and the commissions (mostly residences) during these years are considered the finest examples of the Arts and Crafts style, the architectural movement the brothers are credited with fathering in the United States. 3

Japanese architecture, like other arts, is more preoccupied with form than with surface embellishment. This temple at Kamakura is an example of Japanese architecture from the 13th century.

Japanese exteriors and interiors stress space and form, with decoration and furnishing limited to essentials. the asymmetric, multipurpose arrangement of Japanese houses, and the simple rectilinear forms created by framing and wall panelling were influential on early modernist architects, notably Frank Lloyd Wright, and the de Stijl and Bauhaus designers.

The forms of Japanese architecture and furniture were also a factor in the early development of the Arts and Crafts style in England. 4

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7 Comments:

Blogger Clandestina said...

I always love the Japanese architecture style.
In the ones you propose here, my prefered is the second pic, with all the vegetables. So great.

31 March, 2007 12:18  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

that's such a japanese garden, isn't it! of the photos in this post, 8 are actually japanese buildings, and the remaining 5 are by either greene & greene or wright.

in the next post, nine are japanese, four are greene & greene or wright, and one is, obviously, german.

at first glance, even i can't always tell which is which, and i'm the one who put them there!

31 March, 2007 12:43  
Blogger Imani said...

What a coincidence--there was a programme on Frank Lloyd Wright on PBS today! I don't remember the Japanese influence being mentioned but I was cooking all through so I probably missed it.

I like it when life has these little coincidences. :)

01 April, 2007 14:54  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

not a coincidence, really.... i watched much of that show, then rented the dvd from the library and am watching the whole thing, and it made/is making me so mad! you're right.

even, like the bauhaus movement--they show these extremely japanese looking structures and say they were inspired by wright!

i had been collecting these images for months, but now i was mad enough to spend the better part of two days putting these posts together!

01 April, 2007 17:02  
Blogger Ed Weekly said...

Very interesting article. I love Kiyomizu. It is one of my favorite places in all of Japan. Most of those old Japanese buildings in Kyoto and Nara are very impressive. I need to go back again...

01 April, 2007 20:02  
Blogger Princess Haiku said...

I love the simplicity and grace. It is a dream of mine to visit the Temples of Kyoto someday and the zen gardens.

05 April, 2007 22:26  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

i've only been to tokyo and kyoto, both of which i loved in very different ways. walked, one step at a time, around many gardens' ponds, and then came home and made my garden that way.

i encourage you.

08 April, 2007 15:14  

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