|Published in:||arq: Architectural Research Quarterly, September 2017, n. 3, v. 21|
Western fascination with Japan and Japanese design is long established. The popularity of the recent exhibitionThe Japanese House: Architecture and Life After 1945at London's Barbican illustrates that this fascination remains. This ‘blockbuster’ review of postwar domestic Japanese Architecture, supported by The Japan Foundation and previously hosted at MAXXI, National Museum of 21st Century Arts, Rome, responds to an enormous challenge: to try to account for the range and diversity of architectural approaches to domestic design within the broader contexts of traditional Japanese architecture and national life after 1945.
The seven decades covered in the exhibition span postwar reconstruction, rapid economic expansion, bubble-era boom and bust, and deflationary stagnation, brought up to the present day. Material is organised ‘genealogically’ rather than chronologically, drawing together certain threads and traditions. It makes connections across time periods to suggest how the design of the Japanese house has dealt with sociological changes over this period, from the fracturing of the nuclear family and an increase in single-person households to an ageing population.
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