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WENDY EVANS JOSEPH TRAVELING SCHOLARSHIP “OF NATURE, OF PEOPLE: ARCHITECTURE IN JAPAN” WILLIAM KORCHEK SUMMER 2012

Established in 1999 by Wendy Evans Joseph, Class of 1977, the purpose of the Wendy Evans Joseph Traveling Scholarship is to support summer travel to study the natural and built environment in any region of the world. The scholarship is awarded each May to juniors in the undergraduate Major in Architecture on the basis of a competitive application process. The scholarship recipients are required to document their study in the form of a photographic essay submitted upon the completion of travel. The Undergraduate Program in Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania is a studio-based liberal arts and sciences program in the College of Arts & Sciences. In addition to the general requirements for a Bachelor of Arts degree, the Major in Architecture includes a six-semester studio sequence and two theory courses, taught by faculty in the Department of Architecture in the School of Design, and four courses in the history of art and architecture, taught by faculty in the Department of the History of Art in the School of Arts & Sciences. The program offers an Intensive Major, with seniors enrolling in graduate-level technology courses, a Minor in Architecture, a Minor in Design, and a summer program for high-school students. For more information on the program and examples of students’ work in the undergraduate design studios visit: http://www.design.upenn.edu/architecture/undergraduate-program-architecture Richard Wesley Undergraduate Chair, Architecture rwesley@design.upenn.edu Book design: Sarah Beth McKay

(cover spread) Concrete Tokyo, Green Tokyo 1


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Touring historic temples in Kyoto, one soon realizes none are very ancient. Most of the structures have been rebuilt within the last 200 years, several as replicas of their predecessors. These buildings are entirely wood constructions窶馬ot even nails hold them together. Their roofs are layered cypress bark. As such, they are highly flammable, and burn down every so often. But the new replacements do not necessarily protect against fire. The fire is inevitable, and the cycle is embraced. Architecture in Japan is in harmony with natural cycles and natural systems. So too does it reflect the human climate; dense cities are extremely livable, connected in consonance with their inhabitants. Lessons from Japanese architecture, traditional and modern, expose a difference in approach to the built environment from that of Western history: it seems in Japanese architectural culture, builders construct space with care to honor a natural place, to adapt to human inhabitants, and to consider implications to the natural environment.

ITINERARY Tokyo Sendai Kyoto Osaka Uno Teshima Naoshima Kanazawa Ainokura Tokyo

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CONNECTED CITIES The city in Japan is dense—jam-packed with geometry. While a cross-section of Tokyo (opposite) produces layers of varying sizes, heights, and orientations connected in a web of infrastructure, the city, too, is filled with minimal designs that bridge poetically the concrete ground with the open sky (left). (left) Ginza, Tokyo (opposite page) Shibuya, Tokyo (previous spread) Kyoto Station

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The city is physically connected with a dense system of winding roads, incredibly convenient public transportation, and complex power lines that cut through the grid. The power lines are not hidden; rather, they are exhibited. The complexity of the system, it seems, is celebrated. The approach toward power lines is representative of the Japanese approach toward urbanism: the people celebrate the city and care for it; they are proud of it and treat it well. (above) Cable compositions in Tokyo, left, and Kyoto, right. (opposite page) The view down a compact alley in Ueno, Tokyo.

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The city connects to it’s natural surroundings in sometimes surprising ways. Looking up, buildings meet the sky to pierce it (left), or respectfully reflect it (below), bringing the sky to the surface of the city. In another example, the buildings weave into the sky (next page). (below, opposite, and next spread) Contemporary glazed buildings address the sky, flirting with that invisible threshold. Below and opposite, buildings in Shibuya, Tokyo. Next spread, a building in Omotesando, Tokyo.

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The support of the building is something to be celebrated as well, and often these supports are gestural and sculptural. They are the harbingers of light (opposite) or a fluid passageway (above). (above) The stairwell of Toyo Ito’s Sendai Mediatheque. (opposite) Rafael Vinoly’s Tokyo International Forum

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Constructions consider materials poetically. Concrete and glass interact as if made together (below); concrete grows toward the sky to expose purposeful openings (opposite). (below) Toyo Ito’s building for Mikimoto in Omotesando. (opposite) A reinforced concrete structure nearby.

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(above) A Tadao Ando building in Kyoto. (opposite) A composition of building elements in Tokyo

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Reflections and distortions bring heightened awareness to the surroundings. (above) escalators in a Uniqlo store. (opposite) Olafur Eliasson’s “Your Chance Encounter” at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa. (next spread) Herzog and de Meuron’s Prada building in Omotesando.

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Stairways in the city become aesthetic expressions.

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HARMONIC COUNTRY The countryside of Japan is traditional, rural, and dotted with beautiful temples constructed from systems eras old. Architecture in the country is in harmony with nature. Thatchedroof dwellings are perfectly attuned to the climate; Roofs undulate into the horizon. In modern interventions, concrete pays homage to this balance. (below) roofs in Uji. (previous spread) Tadao Ando’s Lee Ufan Museum in Naoshima.

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Of course, traditional temple buildings are impressive pieces of architecture that stand iconically throughout the country (right). But these structures are also inexorably linked to nature (above). (above) Kiyomizudera Temple overlooking Kyoto. (opposite) Byodo-in Temple in Uji. (previous spread) Katsura Imperial Palace.

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Temples are aligned with their surroundings to produce an ideal environment that uses the natural setting in a complete composition. (above) Katsura Imperial Palace

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Golden Kinkaku-ji Temple in Kyoto

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The rural village of Ainokura features thatchedroof structures that are insulated from the weather outside. Inside, traditional sliding doors and Tatami-mat rooms allow for an adaptable floor plan. (opposite) Thatched roof in Ainokura (previous spread) The village of Ainokura 38


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Traditional roofs made of bamboo and wood.

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The Teshima Museum of Art (above) speaks as a thesis to this project. Inside a concrete shell structure, two large, circular openings bring in views of the forest and of the sea, along with the sounds and air of the setting. Inside, surfaces are covered in water-resistant coating. Water slowly emerges from the floor at timed intervals from 168 unnoticeable holes, forming small puddles that proceed to creep slowly or snake rapidly along the gently-sloped concrete floor. These islands of water join larger puddles, which in turn will snake or crawl unpredictably to one of two larger puddles directly under the large openings in the ceiling. This groundwater slowly drains back to its origin; visitors watch this cyclical performance. (above and next spread) Teshima Museum of Art, exterior and interior views—a temple to its surroundings.

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After a walk through the woods that surround the museum, the building rises from the ground, echoing the hills of the island and paying homage to their form and processes. (above) The Teshima Museum of Art and surroundings.

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Japan  

Photoessay of travels in Japan, made for Undergraduate Architecture Department

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