i. Can't remember what you said about providing a map. How scattered across Japan are these various buildings? I guess one interesting element here you don't tackle, in particular, is how weather patterns vary north to south: and does architecture in any way reflect this?
ii. I think you should promote the argument WHY SO EXCITING to the opening page on architecture. It expands on your point about it being static for so long -- but pushes against it much more alluringly. [otherwise yr intro could be read as "omg japanese architecture is boring except for a little bit at the end" which i know is not what you mean; but i think you should share the focus point of your enthusiasm sooner... and i t doesn't detract from the interest of the premodern stuff; it gives a sense of anticipation -- WAS this; is NOW THIS]
iii: your overall feelings about postmodernism and cross-flow of styles and ideas between the east and the west are beginning to take shape in my mind i think -- not just what you're saying directly, but what you're feeling and not saying yet!! i've talked a little about some of that here but i know it's a much bigger strand in the overall project, so ignore if you feel i'm just being piecemeal... we're going to be addressing it eventually
iv: ps sorry for the delay since the last one!!
1: ORIGINS: INTEGRATION WITH GARDENS
a: It seems strange to say "Porches and verandas were there from the start" when the successor page begins "Houses started as pit dwellings with straw roofs"
I see why you've put this first -- because it applies so broadly, and you want to stress the link with gardens -- but I think it should go last on this page. It does the same warning work perfectly effectively there.
b: "The gardens were part of the overall architecture, and arguably I am making a mistake in separating them here" -- say "The gardens were always part of the overall architecture, and it's arguably a mistake to separate them, as I have in my page structure."
c: "Also, note the rather less crisp distinction between indoors and outdoors - verandahs, sliding screens, paper, hanging curtains and so on, instead of solid walls." <--- I would start this para with a more compact version of this viz "In Japan the distinction between indoors and outdoors is less than crisp -- as witness the verandahs, sliding screens, paper, hanging curtains (and so on) instead of solid walls." This will slightly open up and clarify your phrase "linking the house with its environment" (because after all an ordinary front door "links the house with its environment" --> you're making a bigger, more intriguing point).
2: ORIGINS: EARLY HOUSING
a: "most of the elements that persisted" -- say "most of the elements that would persist"
b: "Japan is a country with pretty extreme climate swings, and the preference" -- say "but the preference"? What follows is slightly unexpected...
c: the INTEGRATION WITH GARDENS link should say "backwards'?
3: ORIGINS: TOMB MOUNDS
a: Is there a link between tomb mound architecture and any other type of japanese architecture. If not you should probably make that point -- what you're saying is that these are very old still extant structures, not that eg such and such type of building in later times draws on elements of tomb-mound style.
b: the EARLY HOUSING link should say "backwards"?
4: ORIGINS: WHAT IS SHINTO ARCHITECTURE?
a: Needs an opening sentence to remind us what shinto IS. It's a sort of combo of ancestor worship and nature worship, isn't it?
b: "I suspect that is below the threshhold where we can talk about architecture, but I don't know what else it is." You can firm this up -- or say it another, more piquant way -- by (re)making the point about the house-garden fuzziness, I think. For the Japanese, "architecture" includes the "outside", sometimes even then there isn't an "inside" to be outside -- something like this.
c: "The next page talks about the most notable shinto shrine, from when they started creating buildings with such a purpose." -- say "From the 5th century, buildings began to be created for this purpose: the most notable shinto shrine of this kind can be seen through the next link."
d: "but the defining of an outside space" -- say "but still the defining of an outside space"
5: ORIGINS:SHINTO ARCHITECTURE: ISE JINGU
a: "like many shrines, what we see is not the original buildings" -- say "as with many shrines, these are not the original buildings".
6: ELEMENTS OF ARCHITECTURE
a: perhaps be clearer that these elements are to be found not just in the all the structures you talk about, but all others too --- do they still feature in the Postmodern period?
b: "reed mats measuring around 6' x 3' as the unit of size of rooms" -- better = "a reed mat measuring around 6' x 3' as the unit of size of a room"? Not clear exactly how this works -- do they carry the mat round like a tape measure? Is a mat (or mats) just placed into every room everywhere (to demonstrate the size?)
7: BUDDHIST TEMPLES: SHITENNOJI
a: "It was the first use of the Chinese-style pagoda" <-- ie first use in Japan presumably (this is sort of obvious given everything elsewhere but might as well assume this is for some reason first page a new reader might alight on; could just about be misread to be claiming that the Chinese-style pagoda was invented here in
b: "They also built horyuji" -- cap H? also say see "link" rather than "next page", maybe
8: BUDDHIST TEMPLES: HORYUJI
a: the link to the shaka triad takes you to shiba tori, and it takes a moment to spot where the triad is -- maybe qualify the link by saying "(see picture)"
9: BUDDHIST TEMPLES: BYODOIN
a: "marks the point when the emperor became no more than a figurehead" <-- this could do with another sentence of expansion; who became the power in the state (and why?)
b: "supposed to be an analogue" <-- not terribly sure what "analogue" means here
10: MEDIEVAL BUILDINGS: PALACES & VILLAS: KINKAKUJI
a: Does KINKAKUJI mean "Golden Pavilion?
b: Is the Mishima book one of the strands in the Paul Schrader Mishima film?
c: Pavilion is spelled with one L and two Ls on different lines -- either is fine, but pick one! (You're allowed to orthographise the Mishima, I feel, as it's a translated title)
11: MEDIEVAL BUILDINGS: PALACES & VILLAS: KATSURA
a:"inspired the Bauhaus and Mackintosh and Mondrian and Frank Lloyd Wright" -- when you say there isn't an analogue of "modernism" in Japan, might not this be some of the reason; that Modernism in the West was fired up by a kind of orientalist excitement which allowed for a clearing of the decks, where in Japan obviously an excitement about eg the cool lines of Katsura would have meant stasis rather than change, as there it already was. (Actually I thought Wright was considered proto-pomo but I am no expert on architecture...)
12: MEDIEVAL BUILDINGS: CASTLES
a: "the old kind of Chinese-style buildings perched gracefully on top" -- have you explained what "Chinese-style buildings" are? If you have you should maybe have a link?
13: MEDIEVAL BUILDINGS: CASTLES: HIMEJI
a: 'white heron' castle -- better with caps? Not sure i understand yr capping system.
b: "world's best-known castle" <--- for some reason this strikes me as a curious statistic (even if yr not including the disneyland fairy castle!)
c: "laid out with defending an attack in mind": i would say "with defending against an attack in mind", and take this phrase to sentence end
d: "It was defended by 3,000 samurai" ---> was this during actual historical attacks, or just who always worked there full-time? Did it see actual action?
14: MEDIEVAL BUILDINGS: TEAHOUSES
a: "with a small door than guests crawled through" -- shd be "that"; that dan moody prog said the door was small so ppl had to leave weapons outside
15: MODERN: POSTMODERN APPEARANCES
a: didn't postmodernism in architecture predate postmodernism as a (named) tendency in philosophy? i think charles jencks was first to use it, descriptively -- and when lyotard named the "philsosophy" he called it a "condition" ---> ie a reactive response to the shape of the modern world, so exactly NOT a philosophy? I'm tempted to argue that your evidence in this section demonstrates that PM everywhere is much more a response, or a reactive cluster of practices, than a "philosophy" as such. (part of the problem is i'm not sure the sense you're using philosophy in isn't moving around a bit: viz "my philosophy is derived from a lifelong study of kant and sartre" vs "my philosophy at the dinnertable is always eat the veg first") (haha i don't know if you ever watch QVC-type channels, but THEY have a sales-sector they call "philosophy"... it basically means "new age tat")
b: "surprisingly high proportion of Japan's most distinguished modern buildings" -- slightly raises the question how many such buildings there are, and how many you have viewed.
c: "All this leads to a freer play etc..." I think I would take this point -- as a slightly reshaped sentence -- and put it upfront to qualify "There is a distinctly postmodernist look ": then it's clear what you mean (in this instance) by "postmodernist", the presence of play in respect of styles and techniques. Then go back into the explanation of what it is that probably led to this. As I say, I suspect that the set-up in Japan is not as different as you seem to be assuming from the set-up in the West: ie that the reasoning in the "why so exciting" paragraph somewhat explains the movement towards playfulness everywhere, not just in Japan, it's just that the causal conditions are much more prevalant in Japan. And the "philosophy" in the "system of thought" sense only arrives afterwards, as a rationalisation, and systematisation, of habits reactions practices blah blah which actually evolved more intuitively. (I guess this is more of my deeper idea -- that what's developing on this site is more of a questioning of conventional assumptions about how ideas travel, than it presents itself as?)
d: "any genuine parallel to Modernism" -- well, japanese fascism is kind of a parallel to fascism elsewhere, and fascism is one of the modernisms, a pathologised or hysterical modernism if you like... (I know that you're talking about Modernism the Architecture here, rqather than "modernism" as a "philososphy")
e: You don't state this upfront but I am gathering you consider modernism as a kind of "sweep everything off the table and start again" sort of an art movement; and popstmodernism as a "pick stuff back up off the and floor look at it anew, all higgledypiggledy" type movement.
f: I realise this theme is very much an evolving idea and examination, so these particular comments are more in the line of Questions and Queries Raised than Things That need Changing Right Now. I do think your examination would clarify for yourself if you started being concrete about the characteristics you consider define styles, and movements, though.
16: MODERN: KENZO TANGE
a: "FCG Headquarters" -- also in Tokyo?
17: MODERN: TADAO ANDO
a. "He displays a fascinating combination of modern and postmodern styles with a regional focus." I think you should give an example of each of these three elements as TA uses them (and you understand them), ideally within a single project. Part of my objection to "postmodern" esp. is that while YOU carry a very clear and probably very extensive category listing in your head of what it entails, and what different aspects would fall under the headings "modern" and "postmodern", but these are words deployed in the world with tremendous variation of referent, and plenty of foax will be coming to your site with the categorisations organised differently . Their versions may be wrong but they won't realise this: you should I think begin to set out a public database of your useage, just by laying out (brick-by-brick) which details you take to fall in which category. TA doesn't (presumably) evidence EVERY characteristic of the modern: just pick a couple, or just one, and then pick a pomo detail to contrast with it, and a regional detail that (to you) doesn't belong in either column (but say why, and also say which region!) (you are particularly good at carrying such variegated material in your head, well organised -- but this isn't something most people are great at; so it's worth affirming and amplifying and strengthening the picture you want readers to have, with concrete, palpable, easily visualisable examples: when when you say "postmodern", a reader can conjure up the territory-image they have been piecing together... )
b: "His church of light is shown on the page up from here" --> possibly a reader will have navigated from the page you mean, but i came from HIROSHI HARA. "up" is probably a bit of a hiccup word when talking direction on the net!
c: "He's arguably been regarded as the world's greatest architect for some years." Passive construction not great, esp. when qualified by "arguably" and a timespan as unspecific as "some"! "Some (many?) now regard him as the world's greatest architect." Obviously this has not always been so (which takes care of the "some years"); and even if many do, some don't, which takes care of the "arguably".
18: MODERN: ITSUKO HASEGAWA
a: "She is still a rarity, a woman at the top of her artform, famous for her Museum of Fruit..." Think I would say: "Women at the top of this remain a rarity: Hasegawa is famous for her Museum of Fruit..." etc. Also: "Museum of Fruit"! Don't you have to say something else about what such an awesome-sound institution is!
b: "some astounding public spaces like nothing else I've ever seen" -- perhaps a bit more description? Does the picture illustrate the point? It reminds me a bit too much of Gehry's Rock'n'roll Museum in Seattle, where EMP is held: so I'm not getting the specialness (just from the picture I mean). Actually 60s Expos generally had this eclectic outdoor park-of-the-future look (though that was because each pavilion was designed by a different person...)
c: Anyway as she's your favourite, give us a bit more on her and why you like her.
19: MODERN: MAKOTO SEI WATANABE
a: Has deconstructionist architecture taken particular root in Japan? (I assume you file it under Postmodernism -- but this is a much smaller and better-defined movement with a clear and recent starting point; it's NOT simply eclecticism or more-than-merely-the-austerity-of-modern
earlier skidmires in japan:
DO YOU HATE KOFUN (pt 1 calligraphy and ceramics)
TEZUKA'S COMPANY (pt 2 comics)
RIKYU DON'T LOSE THAT NUMBER (pt 3 architecture)
[insert bad pun here] (pt 4: laquerwork)