Institute for Building Design and Technology

Seminar Japan
Paths to Japan - from culture and construction

Japanese culture, and in particular the building culture of Japan, has found many admirers there since its perception by Western societies. The enriching influences on the European art world and on the protagonists of classical modernism in architecture are undisputed.

Today, however, both affection and antipathy towards this culture are often based on a superficial reception. Japanese culture is usually only perceived through its formal expression, the background of its creation remains hidden.
The view that a deeper engagement with this still exotic world is worthwhile for us is the starting point for a seminar of our chair. Using Japan as an example, this study will shed light on the conditions for the emergence of a building culture and thus also become informative for our own actions.
On the one hand, we will examine traditional Japanese buildings in terms of structure, construction and the relationship to the environment, with a focus on Japan's wooden constructions. On the other hand we look at the history, social structure, geography and world view of Japan. Through this interdisciplinary and holistic approach, seminar contributions will shed light on the development of concepts of beauty, design principles and the understanding of space in Japanese architecture.
After the discussion of the content in the winter semester, the participants will have the opportunity to get to know Japanese culture directly on an excursion in April 2010. Finally, a joint design project with Japanese students from Nihon University Tokyo, College of Science and Technology is planned for the following summer semester.
In this way differences but also similarities can be discovered.