Review Of "Traditional Japanese Architecture : An Exploration Of Elements And Forms" By M. Locher

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This is in substance a handbook on the constructional elements of Japanese buildings, seemingly compiled from the architect-author's notebook. This volume by Locher (Univ. of Utah) would be handier if done in catalog format; presented as a narrative, it is tediously repetitive from section to section in providing highly useful information. The text eschews any theoretical, historical, anthropological, or cultural discourse, except in very general terms, e.g., Japanese architecture's intimate relationship to nature. But it describes architectural components thoroughly, exactingly, and lovingly--identifying them all with Japanese terms. Stunningly beautiful full-color photographs, especially of details--several on every page--are meant to illustrate the text, but their use is not consistent. Many of the photographs, though tersely described, are not fully identified; the book does not provide a list of illustrations. Overall, this is a delightful book of photographs and a useful, if not always user-friendly, guide for Japanophile architects and designers. Summing Up: Recommended. Professionals/practitioners and general readers.


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