Author(s): Azby Brown
This new edition of this Azby Brown architecural classic contains a new preface by Brown, fully revised chapters, along 25% new photography and in color for the first time. An extraordinary and ambitious work of architectural reconstruction is underway in twenty-first century Nara. "The Genius of Japanese Carpentry" is the story of the twelve-hundred-year-old Yakushiji monastery and the dedicated modern-day craftsmen who are working to restore what has been lost to the depredations of time, fire, and warfare. In the eighth century, anonymous carpenters first erected the intricately-designed timber temples and pagodas that compose the Yakushiji Buddhist monastery. Then as today, these buildings were considered marvels of architectural elegance and traditional Japanese craftsmanship. Although the full restoration will not be complete until 2030, one of the main temples, the Picture Hall, has been completely reconstructed, employing the original methods, architectural style, and largely the same woodworking technology as its predecessors. Azby Brown chronicles the Picture Hall's painstaking restoration through photographs, extensive interviews with the carpenters and woodworkers, and original drawings based on the plans of Japanese master carpenter Tsunekazu Nishioka. An inspiring testament to the craftsmen, their dedication to excellence, and their philosophy of work as personal fulfillment, "The Genius of Japanese Carpentry" offers detailed documentation of this singular project and a moving reminder of the humanity that bridges past and present.
Azby Brown is the director of KIT Future Design Institute in Tokyo. After studying architecture and sculpture at Yale College, Brown entered the Department of Architecture of the University of Tokyo under a grant from the Japanese Ministry of Education. After completing his Ph.D., he became an associate professor of architectural design at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology. He is the author of "Just Enough, Small Spaces, The Japanese Dream House, " and "The Very Small Home." He lives in Tokyo.