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The Tradition of the Future

Part 2 Dissertation 2004
John Everett
University of Portsmouth | UK
The concept for the Dissertation resulted from my Final Degree year and first Postgraduate year studies which concentrated on Landscape Architecture. I have become very interested in how a building’s relationship with its external environment can psychologically develop a building to become a stimulating place to live, work or play. This is an idea that has been discussed through numerous works since the Modern Movement to current Post-Modern architecture.

From my studies I particularly found the traditional Japanese Culture fascinating in terms of its notions relating to architecture and nature. In Japan, the human relationship to nature has always had spiritual connotations, which the Japanese have rigorously developed throughout their history. From my research for the conception of the project, I found that the Japanese Landscape Architecture tradition could be used to describe the ‘influences’ that generate the consistent development of architecture. Influences between Japan (the East) and the west is a rich and current topic, resulting in numerous reciprocal ‘directions of influence’ seen in the last one hundred years.

The Dissertation was designed to initially research the ideas of the Tradition and its origin in Ancient China. The ‘story’ would then develop into a discussion of how these ideas are being reinterpreted within 21st Century architecture. This discussion was developed around researching into specific architects who have developed Japanese traditional ideas since the beginning of the Modern Movement. The discussion was separated into chapters, firstly researching into two Western architects - Frank Lloyd Wright and Carlos Scarpa - who developed western architecture via Japanese influences combined with new Western influences. The Dissertation concludes with a discussion of Japan’s disregard of these traditional values after WWII, and how two current Eastern architects - Tadao Ando and Shigeru Ban - are now re-establishing their country’s traditional ideas combined with new western thought, a similar process taken by Wright and Scarpa, resulting in new landscape architectural ideas. These new ideas are now influencing architectural design in the east and the west.

The Dissertation found that the Japanese Tradition is the tradition of the future.

John Everett

This dissertatation has been very thoroughly researched and clearly argued, with a very detailed picture of the development of and influences on Japanese gardens. John has carefully taken us through a well plotted account of their Chinese background, carefully following a well argued thread of influences that take us up to the closure of Japan's boundaries, showing us the complexities that have been overlaid over many centuries of traditional garden design.

In the second section he takes us into the contemporary world from when Japan again opened up its doors to the rest of the world, to the late twentieth century. He talks about the influence Japan has had on the West, with examples such as Carlo Scarpa, and how in turn, ideas from the West have informed contemporary landscape design within Japan. The dissertation is impressive in its depth and detailed references and clear arguement.

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