Japanese Architecture as a Collaborative Process

Japanese Architecture as a Collaborative Process: Opportunities in a flexible construction culture by Dana Buntrock
Taylor & Francis, 2002
Paperback, 208 pages

Dana Buntrock, assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, sets her book apart from others by approaching the subject of Japanese architecture from an American perspective that focuses on the process rather than the product. She gives a brief historical overview of Japanese building and construction, illustrating the changes and consistency since the country's evolving westernization since the late 19th century, while also comparing and contrasting education in Japan and the United States. The majority of the book looks at architectural practice today, the most fascinating parts devoted to case studies on buildings like Toyo Ito's Mediatheque in Sendai, where we see more immediately the effects of the process - the resolution of a crisis without blame or finger-pointing is a good example of the differences in collaboration between here and there. Ultimately the author sees the increasing westernization of Japanese construction as a crisis in its own right, but in a way where the high level of craft can be retained if countries like the United States learn from Japan and its methods. As more Japanese architects build overseas and foreign architects attempt to penetrate Japan's shell, mutations will form that will hopefully use the best that all parties have to offer.