Japan-ness in Architecture

Fredric Jameson writes:

Arata Isozaki is not normally associated with nationalism or nativism in architecture. That his buildings project an international public is testified by their geographical range: from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles to the Tsukuba Science Centre in Japan, from the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona to the Volksbank Centre in Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, from the Administrative Building at Disneyworld in Florida to the Domus in La Coruña. Although it is here very much a question of modernity, Japanese or Western, the ostensible topic of Isozaki’s exciting book, Japan-ness in Architecture, is rather three monuments from Japan’s traditional past, three ‘landmark events in Japanese architectural history’, to which the fourth, the great movement of Japanese architectural modernism from Kenzō Tange onwards, is added. These monuments or events are the seventh-century shrine at Ise, the Southern Gatehouse built in 1199 at Tōdai-ji by the monk Chōgen, and the Katsura Imperial Villa, whose present form dates from the 17th century.

(LRB 5 April 2007)