The fashion for a house or dwelling decorated in an unusual style has always existed. But the case of houses built with a claim to the Japanese style is slightly different from the options for imitating Italian, French or Dutch architecture. Western homes have always been the epitome of practicality and adaptability to the local climate.
The traditional Japanese house was the hallmark of the family that lived in it, and in most cases it was created not with the aim of achieving maximum convenience of living, but as a continuation of the traditions and complex worldviews of a centuries-old culture.
What is Japanese architecture?
Even an ordinary person, far from the originality of the Japanese style, once looking at a Japanese temple, pagoda or ancient samurai house, will confirm – it is unusual and beautiful. To create a Japanese-style house, you need a little:
The project should take into account the basic canons and rules of the Japanese tradition that we understand; Give the building classic features and design elements to emphasize the belonging of the architecture of the house to the Japanese style; Design the space around the house in accordance with the requirements of the Japanese architectural tradition and style. The territory, vegetation, and landscape are ideally an organic extension of the Japanese home.
Differences and features of a Japanese-style house.
A real traditional Japanese house is a little different from the designs we know from movies and photos. Those examples of Japanese architecture and style that we know belong to the ancestral estates and castles of rich people, high-ranking dignitaries, military leaders and priests in ancient Japan.
They became the basis for the creation of modern houses in the Japanese style. Classic Japanese houses in different parts of Japan differed in some details, but all were built according to the same laws:
The territory on which the house or temple was located was always surrounded by a protective fence, had a large number of plantings planted in strict accordance with the established rules, paths and auxiliary objects; There was an open and closed part of the house, decorated in the form of several terraces, immediately in front of the house there was always an open area or pond; The walls of the house had a large number of vertical posts that held the massive roof, and windows that provided normal lighting in most internal rooms. The main part of the house was installed on stilts made of wood with two or three set supports made of natural stone. This is also the Japanese style of providing thermal insulation and protection from dampness and flood water.
The main elements of the house in the Japanese style.
The first thing that makes a house in a characteristic Japanese style so recognizable and original is the roof of the building. The design of the roof in many ways resembles the ornate Chinese roofs, but is simpler and more practical.
Of the European roof designs, the Danish and Dutch hip roofs are the closest to the Japanese style, also designed for high rainfall and strong winds from the sea.
Therefore, in a house built in the Japanese style, the roof is always built with a negative curvature of the slopes, as in the photo. Traditionally, in the roof of a Japanese-style house, the roof slopes had several tiers, two or three.
With this roof design, snow and moisture did not linger on the roof for a long time, which significantly reduced the load on a very heavy and massive truss system.Long flights of rafters were used as suspension points for the lights of lighthouses, which could be used to navigate the estate at night in conditions of pitch darkness.
The eastern style is characterized by very large and long overhangs of the roof, especially at the corners and above the entrance to the house. Thus, they tried to divert rain and meltwater as far as possible from the foundation and walls of the house.
The second, most recognizable element of the house, characteristic of the Japanese style, were the open terraces and a large number of vertical posts and supports that hold the roof and give rigidity to the walls of the house.
In the past, this technique allowed to strengthen the walls of the house with a large number of huge window openings, decorative screens, closing the interior space from prying eyes. Now it is only a decorative element inherent in the traditional style of the building design, photo.
The classic-style house has always been complemented by a huge canopy over the entrance or side of the building. Traditionally, a place under a canopy or on a large terrace was the main location during daylight hours.
In a modern building, this is a beautiful attribute of a Japanese-style house, photo. Terraces surrounded the perimeter of the house, in some cases at least three-quarters of the entire space. It was convenient in the old days, and in the same way emphasize the style in modern buildings.
Traditionally, the house in the value system of the inhabitants of Japan was both a temple and a place for ordinary human activities. Therefore, as in many other oriental styles, a chapel, figures, and religious objects may be present in the courtyard of the house next to ordinary everyday things and objects.
Such a house has always been built of wood, stone, paper, fabrics. Therefore, in modern interiors and design solutions in the Japanese style, even plastic and synthetic materials are most often designed and decorated with wood and stone. But, given the great interest in environmentally friendly projects and decorative materials, the interior and exterior of the building in the traditional style only benefits from this.
The third specific attribute of the house in the traditional style of decoration can be called the ability to decorate and create a very beautiful landscape on the territory of the house. It can be a series of shrubs of unusual shape, or trees, as in the photo, a whimsically laid out garden of stone and ornamental plants, a small pond with a miniature waterfall. Traditionally, Japanese bonsai pine was used, which was planted at the entrance to the house and along the paths.
The decorative lawn or rock garden in the house was always complemented by a large playground, where, in fact, all the main events in the estate took place. Visually, such an addition increased the size of the estate, was a sign of the high position of the owner. In a modern style, the playground is traditionally used as a place for parking cars.
Today, the territory of the estate in the classic version is necessarily equipped with a gate and a high fence, as which thin steel tubular fences are used, closed with dense bushes. But in budget options, the house is simply surrounded by a high stone wall.
The interior of the house is in the Japanese style.
The traditional version of the arrangement of the interior space of the house can be called quite minimalistic and strict. Following the tradition, the house should have a minimum amount of furniture and items. The interior walls of the house are usually decorated with engravings and drawings in the style of graphics and ink paintings on silk.
The Japanese style in the interior requires a lot of light, free space, so in front of the windows of the house you can rarely see tall trees or heavily overgrown shrubs. At night, due to the large number of lights, the building seems to consist entirely of windows.
The ceiling ceiling was quite unusual. In a classic house, the beams of the ceiling and roof often served as a frame and storage room, a place to store a large number of products and various items. Today, only the symbolic elements of the frame remain from the old tradition.
The most important element of the interior was the floor and floor covering. The floor was always made of the strongest and hardest wood, and after assembly it was polished with wax to a shine. In the modern interpretation, natural oak and cedar woods are used, less often laminate or carpet, imitating traditional bamboo mats. Light paper and fabric screens were used for partitions and interior walls in the house, which are now successfully replaced by decorative panels with the texture of silk and bamboo frames.
The beauty of a house built in the Japanese style is very specific and interesting, it is very difficult for European standards to adapt to modern interpretations of the cultural traditions of Japan, so often even in Europe or Asia, such houses have only an external resemblance to the main architectural solutions of a Japanese estate. The internal arrangement of the house is most often adjusted to the needs, habits and preferences of the owners, which does not prevent them from considering their housing in accordance with the classical canons.