Faculty of Design – Shizuoka University of Art and Culture, Japan
After mastering Western architecture in the 1910s, Japanese top architects have been confronted with two problems: creating their own style based on Japanese traditions and climatic or seismological conditions and educating common people on taste for architecture beyond superficial imitation of the Western one. First of all, an elite and initially expressionist architect Horiguchi Sutemi discussed non-urban-ness that connects Japanese tearooms and Dutch rural houses. This was through his modernist interpretation of function, his experience in the Netherlands and his reaction against the administrative viewpoints on city and architecture in the 1920s. Secondly, despite his former distant stance on monumentality, his request of the world-wide supreme expression to some projected monuments revitalized his own inclination. Seemingly his attitudes toward monumentality changed and the property of the monuments that honored the war victims or enhanced national prestige opposed the “international” feature of modern architecture. Although these points may hide his consistency, we can find his continuous dualism: one is the functionality that prevailed over architectural discourses at that time including Horiguchi himself and another is his expression that provided a local vernacular practice with the position in the world. These arguments enable us to cast a potential understanding among modern architects in those days in a new light.
modern architecture, international style, horiguchi sutemi, vernacular, monumentality