The Basics of Japanese Architecture~Residence~

Updated: Apr 10, 2020

Hi, Everyone! How was your weekend?

Today we're gonna discuss the topic of Japanese Residence, and This is the last one in <The Basics of Japanese Architecture>.

Thousand years ago, in Heian era, 寝殿造り #shindenzukuri shown in the following picture was once that common sense amongest the upper classーnoble class.

You can see a estate of land surrounded by wall, and houses in the north, #garden in the south, unlike English gardens, which are often designed for walking,functionally it's more like the Persian Garden, Islamic Garden, Chinese or Korean's style, it's intended for rest, relection, and contemplation. It emphasize on the aquatic element, the ponds, the pool, or the paving sand which represent the meaning of water, that should be considered as the 1st element in gardening, another feature is its roof and floor I just mentioned in the previous article, unlike Chinese ancient buildings, Japanese 寝殿造り style houses often use Japanese cypress or grass to thacht the roof, and the floor is usually boarded with wood or tatami-mat.

While many 寝殿造り style dwellings no longer exsit, scholars have inferred much about Japanese literature on that subject.

The structure of the dwelling is Main house in the center, connected with many side houses in the sides by the corrider house.

OK, let's forget it and look at our main focus is 書院造り #shoinzukuri and 数寄屋造り,


If you don't know what's 書院造り, that's ok, you must know this one above if you had ever spent holidays in Japanese ryokan, #Tokonoma(床の間),decorative aclove, that is one of the most classical items in Japanese house, and also is the key feature of 書院造り, and subsequent 数寄屋造り.

書院造り is a mainstream style since Muromachi era, reflecting the rising of Samurai class.

書院 #shoin literally means studying space, so it's necessary to lighten the room, so there's a outward window called 書院 that is next to Tokonoma. Samurais prefer the simple life,

so that they can concentrate on spiritual upgrade, while splendid wall paintings in Edo era's 書院 are also notable. The following one is Nishihonganji Temple's 書院 in Kyoto.

The last one 数寄屋造り, 数寄 #suki, literally means, good taste, elegance, posh lifestyle, that is fond by Samurai class. Such as Tea ceremony, flower arrangement, etc.

Generally, It shares many common features with 書院造り, we call it Tea room today, comparing with 書院造り, it is more simplified and subdueder color arrangement.

The above one is a typical 数寄屋 style one in Japan, we can see the room decorated with some Zen style elements, such as the curved window, 火灯窓 (also named 花頭窓)

Tea room (茶室) #chashitsu became a part of dailylife in Edo era, that means, it eventually stepped into the common people's living spaces.

番外編(Extra Edition)

Garden Types

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