GSD 6311 Innovative Constructions: cases from modern Japan

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GSD 6311 Innovative Constructions
: cases from modern Japan

Spring 200
7


First analysis assignment:

The twentieth century was a time of great experimentation in construction technique, in
Japan as elsewhere in the world. Two major themes gained particular
relevance to
mainstream construction in Japan due to its particular geography, history, and
economic
and technological development
: 1) improving the anti
-
seismic behavior of structures; and
2) rationalizing construction processes with a high degree of pref
abrication.

Much of
Japan’s best known 20
th
-
century architecture owes its fame not only to notions of beauty
or stylishness but also to pioneering techniques of construction, in many cases setting
standards for future generations.


For the first assignmen
t, students are as
ked to
form collaborative teams of 2
-
3 persons,
to consider

issues of
structural performance, construction processes, materiality and
expression


particularly where these are expressed in a provocative manner


in
exemplary works from mi
d
-
century modern Japan (192
0s through 1980s). Each pair or
group should select a project

from the list that

follows below

and

produce a detailed
construction analysis

of it

for in
-
class presentation at midterm. T
his

analysis project

will
fol
low a

prescri
bed method,
which calls

for the construction of (computer) models
to

elucidate issues of structure, construction, spatial sequence
, etc., that may not be clear
from viewing plans and photographs alone.


The first stage of the project involves researching,
c
ollect
ing and organizing

all relevant
site, plan, section, and detail drawings

that may be found in the library, on the Internet,
and from other sources

(instructor may
be able to suggest additional sources
).

Photos,
including construction and detail pho
tos should also be
collected and
organized. From
this base of information, teams should then con
struct an analytical

(additive or
sequential)

model of the
overall
building structure

and
envelope
(possibly including

other
finish layers if relevant to your
study); particular attention should be given to clarifying

structural hierarchy and/or construction sequence.

In addition, each team should s
elect
one section of the model to develop in greater detail


this may be a section of wall or
roof, a particular
space or joint in the construction



a part of the construction that might
serve as a “DNA sample” for issues of construction and expression in the chosen work
.

Your graphic study should be compiled into a Powerpoint presentation format, and brief
explana
tory text
(s)

may usefully be added at this stage.


Schedule:

A draft of your assignment

is
due Friday, March 9
, by 5 p.m. The instructor may send
you comments or corrections to be considered before you submit the final version of
your analysis
five days
l
ater, March 14
, by 5 p.m.
All projects are to be submitted
electronically to the course website’s “dropbox”.

The

March 1
6

class will be devoted to
an in
-
class review and discussion of the projects.


Follow
-
up:

The second
-
and
-
final project of the semester
will follow up on the themes raised by the
midterm projects, though in reference to works of

more contemporary

times
.

For the
final analysis project, students may work individually or in teams of 2 or 3. The subject
of this study may be any work of archi
tecture completed since 1990 in which issues of
construction are problematized. In addition to constructing sequential construction
models at two scales

and presenting them

in Powerpoint format



as in the midterm
project


students shall
also
submit a br
ief (min. 5 pages) written paper to provide
historical and theoretical context for the technical analysis. Further details will be
discussed after the midterm review.


Project list for first analysis assignment
, spring 2007
:



Sutemi Horiguchi

Koide Hous
e, Tokyo, 1923

Wooden structure integrating International Style elements into daiku
-
built Japanese
home;

Suggested study: structural frame and its expression/supression.


Frank Lloyd Wright

Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, 1923

Reinforced concrete structure with dec
orative stone, brick, tile, and wood claddings;

Suggested study: analysis of concrete structure, including numerous cantilevers, and
cladding methods (partial reconstruction drawings recently made available


see
instructor)
.


Antonin Raymond

Raymond Hous
e, Karuizawa (1
st

version), 1933

Wood structure, translation of LeCorbusier’s project for the Errazuris House;

Suggested study:

issues raised by translation from concrete to wood, use of local
materials and product
s.

Reader’s Digest Building, Tokyo, 1951

Reinforced concrete structure of unprecedented openness and lightness;

Suggested study: structural parti, layering of façade.

Raymond House, Karuizawa (2
nd

version), 1962

Wood structure surro
unding central concrete chimney
post;

Suggested study:
use/adapt
ation of indigenous elements.


Jin Watanabe

Tokyo National Museum, 1938

Reinforced concrete structure, clad in stone and brick, tile roof in “Imperial Crown Style”
;

Suggested study: exterior wall section


frame or wall structure?


Kunio Maekawa

Maekawa Ho
use, Tokyo, 1941

Small wooden structure incorporating Corbusian spatial and planning principles;

Suggested study: structural and spatial parti, inventive details for windows, doors,
handrails.

Harumi Apartments
, Tokyo
, 1958

Reinforced concrete structure (f
irst high
-
rise housing project in downtown Tokyo);

Suggested study:
analysis of unit composition, structure, circulation, and infrastructure.

Tokyo Bunka Kaikan (Metropolitan Festival Hall)
, 1961

Reinforced concrete structure
, two concert halls embedded i
n hypostyle hall
;

Suggested study:
structural parti + integration of precast panels and elements on exterior
and interior.


Kenzo Tange

Kagawa Prefectural Government Center
, Takamatsu, 1958

Reinforced concrete structure, prototype for “Japan Style”;

Sugg
ested study:
structural parti + integration of precast elements at building edge.

Kurashiki City Hall
, 1959

Reinforced concrete structure;

Suggested study:
structural parti + integration of precast elements.

Yamanashi Broadcasting Center
, 1966

Rein
forced
concrete structure,

with

formal references to Metabolist projects;

Suggested study:

issues
of fabrication and adaptability.



Togo Murano

Nissei Theater, Tokyo, 1963

Reinforced concrete structure clad in granite, office building with theater space
embedde
d on upper floors;
Suggested study: exterior wall section, particularly the

integration of stone veneers, stone sculpture, and decorative ironwork in balconies.


Junzo Yoshimura

Japan House, New York
, 1971

Reinforced concrete structure using waffle slabs f
or long spans;

Suggested
study
:

relationship of structural parti, spatial sequences, and material
claddings.


Kiyoshi Seike

Seike House
,

1954

Reinforced concrete/concrete block with steel roof (prototype house);

Suggested
study
:

issues of prefabrication
+ economy.


Kiyonori Kikutake

Sky House
,

1958

Reinforced concrete structure;

Suggested
stud
y:

spatial and structural parti, integration of furnishings.


Fumihiko Maki

Okinawa Aquarium
, 1975

Hybrid precast
-

and cast
-
in
-
place concrete structure;

Suggested
s
tudy
:

system’s fabrication process + joinery, configuration possibilities.


Arata Isozaki

Kitakyushu Municipal Library and Museum
,
1974

Precast concrete structure;

Suggested study: structural
analysis of roof vaults, issues of fabrication and construction

sequence.

Tsukuba Center
, 1983

Reinforced concrete structure incorporating various programs;

Suggested
study
:

structural and circulation parti,
construction

of

artificially raised ground
plane.


Tadao Ando

Azuma (Sumiyoshi) House, Osaka, 1976

Reinforced
concrete wall
-
and
-
slab structure: Ando’s “thesis project”;

Suggested study: analysis of construction elements as syntactical prototype for later
projects.