GSD 6311 Innovative Constructions
: cases from modern Japan
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
mainstream construction in Japan due to its particular geography, history, and
and technological development
: 1) improving the anti
seismic behavior of structures; and
2) rationalizing construction processes with a high degree of pref
Japan’s best known 20
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
form collaborative teams of 2
structural performance, construction processes, materiality and
particularly where these are expressed in a provocative manner
exemplary works from mi
century modern Japan (192
0s through 1980s). Each pair or
group should select a project
from the list that
produce a detailed
class presentation at midterm. T
for the construction of (computer) models
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,
ing and organizing
site, plan, section, and detail drawings
that may be found in the library, on the Internet,
and from other sources
be able to suggest additional sources
including construction and detail pho
tos should also be
this base of information, teams should then con
struct an analytical
model of the
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
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
may usefully be added at this stage.
A draft of your assignment
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
ater, March 14
, by 5 p.m.
All projects are to be submitted
electronically to the course website’s “dropbox”.
class will be devoted to
class review and discussion of the projects.
final project of the semester
will follow up on the themes raised by the
midterm projects, though in reference to works of
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
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
e, Tokyo, 1923
Wooden structure integrating International Style elements into daiku
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
e, Karuizawa (1
Wood structure, translation of LeCorbusier’s project for the Errazuris House;
issues raised by translation from concrete to wood, use of local
materials and product
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
Wood structure surro
unding central concrete chimney
ation of indigenous elements.
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?
use, Tokyo, 1941
Small wooden structure incorporating Corbusian spatial and planning principles;
Suggested study: structural and spatial parti, inventive details for windows, doors,
Reinforced concrete structure (f
rise housing project in downtown Tokyo);
analysis of unit composition, structure, circulation, and infrastructure.
Tokyo Bunka Kaikan (Metropolitan Festival Hall)
Reinforced concrete structure
, two concert halls embedded i
n hypostyle hall
structural parti + integration of precast panels and elements on exterior
Kagawa Prefectural Government Center
, Takamatsu, 1958
Reinforced concrete structure, prototype for “Japan Style”;
structural parti + integration of precast elements at building edge.
Kurashiki City Hall
Reinforced concrete structure;
structural parti + integration of precast elements.
Yamanashi Broadcasting Center
formal references to Metabolist projects;
of fabrication and adaptability.
Nissei Theater, Tokyo, 1963
Reinforced concrete structure clad in granite, office building with theater space
d on upper floors;
Suggested study: exterior wall section, particularly the
integration of stone veneers, stone sculpture, and decorative ironwork in balconies.
Japan House, New York
Reinforced concrete structure using waffle slabs f
or long spans;
relationship of structural parti, spatial sequences, and material
Reinforced concrete/concrete block with steel roof (prototype house);
issues of prefabrication
Reinforced concrete structure;
spatial and structural parti, integration of furnishings.
place concrete structure;
system’s fabrication process + joinery, configuration possibilities.
Kitakyushu Municipal Library and Museum
Precast concrete structure;
Suggested study: structural
analysis of roof vaults, issues of fabrication and construction
Reinforced concrete structure incorporating various programs;
structural and circulation parti,
artificially raised ground
Azuma (Sumiyoshi) House, Osaka, 1976
slab structure: Ando’s “thesis project”;
Suggested study: analysis of construction elements as syntactical prototype for later