Structural Characteristics of Japanese Architecture

28 ––– 02 ––– 2020

Traditional Japanese architecture consists of “linear” elements such as pillars and beams. On the other hand, Western masonry construction involves the usage of building stones and bricks.

Then there is the 2×4 housing technique that was developed in North America that uses plywood and structural materials to create “panel”, which will then be combined with other sides to build a house.

The structure of the building is usually visible on its facade. For example, the arch window was designed in a way so that bricks can be arranged to create an opening. In Japanese architecture, Shinkabe wall construction method is quite distinctive, where pillars are placed more towards the front than the wall between them. The building structure with visible pillars that are placed along the lengths and widths of the space in a regular manner, often seen inside Japanese temples, shrines and tea rooms, does make it look quite Japanese, and this Japanese-ness is created by having linear pillars and beams in its building structure.

Another method used in Japanese architecture is the method where no nail is used to fix a building material in place, and this method shows how advanced this processing technique is. A timber roof truss, often seen inside a ceiling cavity, consists of bent timber that are combined together, and it also indicates the distinctiveness of this carpentry technique.