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The Genius of Japanese Carpentry tells the story of the 1200-year-old Yakushiji monastery in Nara and the dedicated modern-day craftsmen who are working to restore what has been lost to the depredations of time, fire and warfare. Although the full monastery reconstruction will not be completed until 2030, one of the main temples, the Picture Hall, has been completely restored employing the same woodworking technology used to create the original building.
This new edition of an architectural classic is by Azby Brown—one of the world's leading experts on Japanese architecture. It contains a new preface and many new text materials and photographs—most of them now available in color for the first time. Azby Brown chronicles the painstaking restoration of the temple through extensive interviews with the carpenters and woodworkers along with original drawings based on the plans of master carpenter Tsunekazu Nishioka.
An inspiring testament to the dedication of these craftsmen and their philosophy of carpentry work as a form of personal fulfillment, The Genius of Japanese Carpentry offers detailed documentation of this singular project and a moving reminder of the unique cultural continuity found in Japan.
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.