Katsura: Imperial Villa

Katsura: Imperial Villa


By (author) Arata Isozaki


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  • Publisher: Phaidon Press Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 402 pages
  • Dimensions: 252mm x 280mm x 40mm | 2,341g
  • Publication date: 19 September 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0714862541
  • ISBN 13: 9780714862545
  • Illustrations note: 197 colour, 226 black and white
  • Sales rank: 190,841

Product description

This book presents a detailed history of Katsura, the seventeenth-century Imperial Palace in Kyoto, a pivotal work of Japanese architecture often described as the 'quintessence of Japanese taste'. First revealed to the modern architectural world by the German architect Bruno Taut in the early twentieth-century, Katsura stunned and then excited the architectural community of the West. Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, pillars of the Modernist establishment, were fascinated by Katsura's 'modernity'. They saw in it orthogonal and modular spaces, devoid of decoration, clear parallels to contemporary Modernism, going so far as to proclaim Katsura a 'historical' example of modernity. This book documents the palace in detail, combining newly commissioned photographs, detailed drawings, archival material, and historical analysis.

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Author information

Arata Isozaki (b.1931) is one of the most important living Japanese architects today. After spending nine years working as an apprentice for Kenzo Tange, he went on to establish his own firm in 1963. Since then, he has earned a reputation across the globe for his notable buildings in Europe, America and Asia and was awarded the RIBA gold medal in 1986. Manfred Speidel (b.1938) graduated from the University of Stuttgart Department of Architecture in 1965 and is a leading authority on Bruno Taut. Bruno Taut (1880-1938) was a German-born architect and theorist who visited Katsura in the 1930s and was one of the first to champion the complex as a precursor of modern architecture. Walter Gropius (1883-1969) was chairman of Harvard University's Graduate School of Design from 1937-52 and was a founder of the Bauhaus. Kenzo Tange (1913-2005) was one of Japan's foremost architects and was the winner of the 1987 Ptitzker Architecture Prize. Francesco Dal Co (b.1945) is Professor of Architectural History at the University Institute of Architecture in Venice.

Review quote

'a sumptuous new book ... beautifully designed and lavishly produced ... Yoshiharu Matsumura's splendid photographs allow a virtual guided tour leaving no detail uncovered. One can work through every well-proportioned reception room, admire the fine woodwork and almost touch the magnificent bamboo fences enclosing the garden. ' Building Design 'A stunningly beautiful and minutely detailed portrait of the 16th century Katsura villa in Kyoto.' Icon