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ARCH 576 Japanese Architecture and Urbanism: Home

Welcome to ARCH 576 Japanese Architecture and Urbanism



"It is precisely in, and through, an understanding of alien cultures that we can come to a more sensitive and critical understanding of our own culture and of those prejudices that may lie hidden from us."

                                                                                                                                   Richard J. Bernstein



Japanese architecture both as a present practice and a course of history provides us with particular features and unique examples. On the one hand, they are deeply rooted in Japanese cultural patterns highlighting important differences between the approaches to design in the East and the West; on the other hand, they are also derivative of Japan's contemporary conditions: advanced technology, modes of production and consumption, social developments, type of urbanization, etc., which altogether have by now yielded one of the most innovative, future-oriented, and critical practices in the world of urban architecture today.


The lecture/seminar course introduces the major issues characterizing Japanese architecture in the past and, more importantly, as well as more in detail, in the present. The emphasis is on the postwar developments including the most recent ones of today. Special attention will be given to "stages" of urbanization and various interpretations of the city by generations of Japanese architects. The weekly presentations by both your professor and you, the students add up to a theory course with the necessary references to historyContemporary design philosophies and intentions will be outlined in the context of traditions and the wider international scene of the past century. The course will also investigate the work of such world-renowned architects as Kenzo Tange, Fumihiko Maki, Arata Isozaki, Yoshio Taniguchi, Tadao Ando, Toyo Ito, Hiroshi Hara, Kengo Kuma, Shigeru Ban, SANAA, and representatives of a younger generation, including Atelier Bow Wow, Junya Ishigami, Hiroshi Nakamura, Hiroshi Sambuichi, and many others.


The purpose of the course is to expose you, the students, to various architectural design philosophies, methodologies, and practices in an urban and cultural environment different from ours, thus provide you with an additional tool to further develop your awareness of the built environment as a cultural phenomenon, as well as a form of political and ideological discourse within society. In so doing, the course ultimately aims at helping you to come to a better understanding of the nature of the relationship between society and architecture as well as, architecture and the built environment, plus the role of the architect in guiding these relationships.


Botond Bognar

Professor and Edgar A. Tafel Endowed Chair in Architecture 
University Scholar
Associate, Center for Advanced Study
Associate, Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies
Laureate, Architectural Institute of Japan Special Prize

About This Libguide

This LibGuide is meant mainly for but not limited to those who are taking ARCH 576 Japanese Architecture and Urbanism. This guide will give you a good grasp of post-war and contemporary Japanese architecture. When you want to know more about Japanese architecture, please feel free to come back to this site. 

Additional Resources

Translation Tools

DeepL is AI assistance for language. It's a great free online service that translates Japanese or any other available languages to English. It is in my opinion far better than Google translate when it comes to academic writing.


Popular Media on Architecture

Listed below are the most popular architectural websites that introduce distinguished projects across the globe. Looking through these websites will give you good project overviews and is a great start for your research before digging into specific library databases.   


Recommended Magazines Available at Ricker Library


Botond Bognar

Professor and Edgar A. Tafel Endowed Chair in Architecture
(217) 333-1883


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