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Slanty-eyed architecture?: Orientalism and Japanism in the works and writings of Ralph Adams Cram, Greene & Greene, and Frank Lloyd Wright

By Don H. Choi


Architectural knowledge of Japan, although often implicitly considered to be objective, is the product of personal, political, and subjective circumstances. Ralph Adams Cram's works and writings suggest that the dominant American attitudes depended on the Orientalist assumption of the essential difference between East and West, the textual treatment of Japan, and American political hegemony. The critical reaction of the work of Greene & Greene reveals that early twentieth-century American knowledge of Japanese architecture was extremely cursory and heavily stereotyped by Arts and Crafts filters. Frank Lloyd Wright's writings suggest that his attitudes were originally derived from the same context as Cram's, but from this Orientalist base he created a complex and frequently contradictory architectural and cultural understanding of Japan. The work of all of these architects implies that American architectural knowledge of Japan is tightly confined by Orientalist assumptions and narrow, Western architectural frameworks

Topics: American studies
Year: 1993
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