Katsura Imperial Villa


Much has been written about the 17th Century Katsura Imperial Villa near Kyoto, Japan. The building is an excellent of example of vernacular Japanese architecture, and was much lauded by early Modernists like Bruno Taut, and visited by Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius. As a garden, it is one of the best examples of the scenographic aspirations of Japanese garden design, including the miniaturization of landscape elements. When I visited Katsura, I was intently focused on the carefully orchestrated procession and discovery of the site, which is choreographed by different size paving stones, which increase or decrease depending on the corresponding view. These paving stones also include places for pause to contemplate a view or aspect, and continue to the threshold of the site and building.

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