Author(s): Thomas Daniell
Written by Thomas Daniell, with a foreword by Thomas Weaver and an afterword by Peter Cook, An Anatomy of Influence contains a wealth of texts and images that together elucidate the theory and practice of 12 leading Japanese architects. Rather than the usual array of exquisite yet autonomous buildings, this book focuses on the hitherto unexplored lives of their architects, and the febrile intellectual, social and political environment in which they worked. The period covered spans from the postwar decades up to the present day, but the emphasis is on the radical transformation of Japan’s architectural culture that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s: from envisioning rigorously systematised urban plans to creating introverted private houses, from the imitation of western modernism to the study of non-western vernaculars, from the ruthless demolition of historical buildings to the documentation of forgotten objects, from rigid authorial control to flexible user participation, from industrialised prefabrication to self-build experimentation, from a seemingly homogenous society to an enthusiastic celebration of personal differences. The cumulative result is not only a fascinating perspective on modern Japanese architecture, but a profound recasting of our understanding of the modern Japanese architect.