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Japanese Architecture

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Dr. Govan Keng

on 31 January 2014

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Transcript of Japanese Architecture

Japanese Architecture
Alexander Keng and Andrew Lum
Both Japan and Canada are in the northern hemisphere and have lots of forests. These forests provided wood for buildings. Wood is used a lot in both Japan and Canada because of its abundance and its reasonably good earthquake proof ability.
Both Japanese and Canadian architecture were initially influenced by more dominant cultures and beliefs. Japan's was influenced by China and Buddhism; whereas, Canada's was influenced by England and Christianity.
For example, the first Japanese temples were designed like Chinese temples.
Both Japan and Western Canada are on the Ring of Fire. The Ring of Fire is one of the most seismically active places on Earth. Since they both share this geological feature, the architecture of both countries have developed to include planning for the threat of Earthquakes and other natural disasters.
Japanese and Canadian architecture seem very different at first but actually have many similarities. We will compare and contrast Japanese and Canadian architectural styles by looking at the things that influenced its development, residential buildings, commercial buildings, and then famous landmarks.
But before we begin, here's some background information on Japan and Canada.
The first Canadian churches were designed like English ones.
Residential Buildings
As stated earlier, both Japanese and Canadian houses are made from wood. However, early Japanese houses were meant to blend and integrate with nature compared to Canadian houses that protect people from nature.
Here is a traditional raised Japanese house with a porch.
Here is a traditional Canadian house.
Take a look at these pictures. Note that the Japanese house has a porch and is designed to be "one" with nature; whereas, the Canadian house has solid walls to protect from nature and a chimney so that fire can be brought inside the house.
Modern Japanese houses are smaller than Canadian ones because Japan has much less land than Canada.
This is a modern Japanese house.
This is a modern Canadian house.
Both Japanese and Canadian houses have outdoor spaces. Japanese houses incorporate gardens to show their love and harmony of nature. Canadian houses usually have lawns that show their love of open spaces.
This is a Japanese garden.
This is a typical Canadian yard.
Commercial Buildings
Commercial buildings in both Japan and Canada are constructed out of concrete, steel, and glass. But since Japan has four times Canada's population and a much smaller land mass, Japan has very dense commercial areas and buildings close together; whereas, Canada's commercial buildings are concentrated in central business districts like Downtown Vancouver.
These are some of Japan's commercial buildings.
Both Japanese and Canadian commercial buildings have more similarities than differences. For example, they're all built to be earthquake-proof and safe for the workers and people around it.
Japanese earthquake- proof commercial building
Canadian earthquake- proof commercial building
Landmark Architecture
Sometimes the best way to see similarities and differences in Japanese and Canadian architecture is to look at famous landmark buildings.
These are Canadian commercial buildings.
Himeji castle in Himeji City
Tokyo Tower
Canada parliament building
Pan Pacific in Vancouver
Japanese and Canadian homes both have different interior designs. Japanese houses have distinct living spaces compared to Canadian houses.


Locher, Mira. (2010). Traditional Japanese Architecture: An Exploration of
Elements and Form. Tuttle: Toronto.
Metha, Geeta, and Tada, Kimie. (2013). Japan Style: Architectural Interiors
Design. Tuttle: Toronto.
Reiber, Beth. (2012). Frommer's Japan. Frommer: New York.
Full transcript