Cherry blossoms at Sakamoto 坂本の桜


These days when you talk, you read, or listen all of the issues are filled with the virus. Let’s talk about something different. I found an unfinished post written exactly one year ago, about a small village in a valley 30 minutes from the west coast of  Shikoku island.—–



We are in one of the many small valleys that open up to the coast. The next valley to the north recently became well known among Japan as an active village driven by the internet, Kamiyama.  You can keep going deeper and deeper into the valley until finally you reach the other side of Shikoku island through a narrow minor road where just one car can pass. This valley is much deeper than one in the last post. The road turns back and forth in what seems like an infinite number of times until you reach a tunnel at the top. This used to be a major access to the deeper part of the valley. Houses hug the road.



After the zigs and zags this view opens up. The houses on the other side of the valley are all old fashioned, the landscape has not been invaded by new industrial building materials, even thatched roofs are surviving. The same landscape was here 100 years ago. (How can people make a life here? Hard to imagine agriculture on this hill. A different time is passing.) It is a matter of time before the invasion will happen. Wind power turbines are visible at the ridge beyond.



It may not be an insult to say these houses are shabby, but in a sense beautiful. The materials are cheap corrugated metal and deteriorated wood, yet much better than the fake products which are artificially mimicking masonry. Human eyes are superbly created, you will notice it is not real. The newly developed fake products are durable, inexpensive and clean at the beginning, but they all soon become shabby and dirty and no character. Why not produce a new design respecting their own unique nature instead of mimicking? It is strange that we feel these houses are not so bad even comparing with a small old masonry shack. Yes the individual houses are not so good but not bad as a group. It may be similar that individual buildings in Manhattan may not be particularly beautiful , but collectively creating beautiful landscapes.



Masonry buildings can be reborn when renovated even when very old, and are the basis for the continued history of the life in cities and villages. It is an open secret in Europe. Wooden structures can be maintained to some extent more than can believed, but there is a limit. If wooden structures cannot create a built legacy, many Asian towns will never be able to achieve a beautiful heritage. Probably we need to reconsider what is beautiful. Possibly it may not be the European concept, but surely not fake materials mimicking traditional materials.



Cherry blossoms at Sakamoto 坂本の桜」への1件のフィードバック

  1. こういう景色をみるとコモ湖畔の景色と同じように美しいと思います。おそらく500分の一、100分の一あたりまでの構成はイタリアと何らかわらないし、敷地に対する関係もすばらしいと思います。日本の大工技術、原寸も世界に誇れる美しさだと思います。問題は30分の一あたり、新建材の表情が視界を占める時、すべてぶち壊しになってしまいます。これは建築関係の産業構造や施工のシステムなど、戦後、日本が進んで来た「建築する」社会的なシステムの問題だと思います。それを切り崩していけるのは唯一専門家である「建築家」のはずですが、まったくそちらを向いていないと思います。結局、建築家を育てる大学教育に問題があると思います。


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