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œChapter8œ
Wright's representation seen through the structure


Panoramic perspective (up) and section view (down) seen from the east side of the house

Structural characteristics and features that stretch one's creativity
This time, we zoom in on the structural characteristics of YODOKO Guest House and the structural features that support Wright's unique design. We will shed some light on questions and mysteries such as "For what purpose?" or "Why here?" First of all, let's see the basic structure of the whole building.

Four stories high building that harmonizes with the natural land form
YODOKO Guest House is built on a small hill, which gently slopes to the south. But the west side is a steep cliff, which cannot be said to be a good a housing site. However, it is said that Wright willingly accepted the request for a design. Why? The key to solve the mystery is the vertical interval of the site. This building has the entrance at the lowest side to the south, and floors are horizontally arranged toward the north along the slope in a staircase pattern. Since each floor is not vertically laid over the other floors, the building is one or two stories high from the point of an elevation view, though the whole building is four stories high. Therefore, even when you are on the third or fourth floor, you do not feel you are away from the ground. You can see the structure is taking advantage of the natural landform. For Wright, it was probably the ideal location where he could represent his architectural philosophy, "The integration of building and land."
Guesthouse viewed from Ashiya River
(western side)
Entrance that commands a view of Ashiya City

A hint of Japanese architecture in the reinforced concrete building
As already mentioned in the previous articles, YODOKO Guest House includes many techniques and materials that remind us of traditional Japanese architecture. In particular, the space structure that takes in the beauty of nature is very elaborate, and gives viewers a sense of beauty. It was pointed out that the house has a hint of Sukiya-tsukuri style (tea-ceremony house architecture that attaches importance to harmonization with nature). We think we can say that the building is in a traditional Japanese architectural style utilizing reinforced concrete building techniques. Such an image is the unique appeal of Wright who tried to adopt nature, which was antithetical to functionalism.

Tidbit
"Another hint of Japanese architecture..."
The representative techniques associated with "traditional Japanese architecture" that gives viewers a sense of beauty is the veranda on the south side of the entrance porch. When viewing it from the entrance, the surrounding walls and pillars serve the role of a picture frame, and you can enjoy a rich moment as if appreciating a landscape picture. Also, from the structural point of view, it is said that Wright designed the building in the motif of Shoin-tsukuri, a Japanese traditional style that has two traffic lines, i.e. outer hallways and inner hallways. The hallways inside this building are so complicated and make us suspect there are two systems of traffic lines designed for guests and residents. There should be more. Use your imagination and enjoy the discovery of your own.
Inner hallway that leads to the 3rd floor from the 2nd floor


*This article was written by Yodogawa Steel Works, under the supervision of Mr. Fumitaka Hirata of the Building Research Institute Foundation, which administrates the restoration and preservation of YODOKO Guest House.

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