The Japanese House ; A tradition for contemporary architecture by Heinrich Engel
Rutland, Vt. : Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1975. Sixth printing. Hardcover. 495 pages ; b/w photographs ; 29 cm. Very good copy; no underlines or markings within the pages. Satisfaction guaranteed!
The Japanese house
A TRADITION FOR CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE
WALTER GROPIUS, in his foreword to this impressive book, aptly states its qualifications as a work of unique value : "The author concentrates particularly on those features of the Japanese architectural tradition that appeal so strongly to the modern architect in the Western world. He shows that this is not just the result of a fashionable trend toward Oriental design motives, but that it is based on the recognition that certain discoveries in the realm of form creation have permanent significance for all branches of society. In revealing the meaningful cultural aims and the high craftsmanship of the Japanese domestic architecture as it evolved through the centuries and in laying bare the compelling motives that directed its development, the author never contents himself with offering a historical study only, but brings, instead, the traditional values alive for the present The book offers the key to the understanding of this profound approach to design. It will interest every teacher and student of architecture and architectural history, every creative architect in East and West alike."
The author, Heinrich Engel, is a professional architect with a Ph.D. in engineering. One of the younger generation of German architects, he has a keen awareness of the international scope of contemporary architecture and has, indeed, a professional background that spans the world. In 1952, he left his architectural practice in Germany—and with it the confusion of architectural ideologies—for travel and experience abroad. Partly working, partly adventuring, he drifted for more than a year in Arabia, India, Burma, Malaya, Thailand, and other Eastern countries, arriving in Japan in 1953. There, in his own words, he "realized that the Japanese house is as invaluable an experience for the contemporary architect as is the ancient Acropolis of Athens in Greece and the modern high-rise office towers of the United States." He stayed in Japan for three years, concentrating on the study of the Japanese house, people, life, language, and culture. Now in his seventh year in the United States, he is teaching architecture at the University of Minnesota and at the same time designing numerous buildings for construction in the United States and Germany.
In this professionally accomplished and fascinatingly reasoned book, abundantly illustrated with his own photographs and many of his own drawings, Mr. Engel asserts his creative imagination as a designer, his analytical mind as a scholar, and his intuitive insight as a teacher and a writer. It is indeed a unique book as well as a forceful one.
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