THE FAMILY HOMES OF ANTONIN RAYMOND, CZECH ARCHITECT IN JAPAN
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The Czech native Antonin Raymond (1888-1976) went to Japan in 1919 as the assistant of Frank Lloyd Wright and worked there until 1973, except for the period of the Second World War. His studio executed many buildings in Japan, where Raymond pioneered the development of construction using reinforced concrete. Raymond's conception of the family home was well received by many contemporary architects, including his protégé Yoshimura Junzo (1908-1997). In these homes, he created a modern private space that was suited to the changing Japanese lifestyle. The article outlines how Raymond developed his ideas of residential space over forty years in the country where he had decided to live. The article also indicates how his approach was unique in the framework of the community of foreign architects in Japan. In select examples documenting the four basic stages of Raymond's professional career, the article shows how his homes developed from the closed European space, divided by permanent partitions, to an architecture in which spatial divisions were only suggested by flowing features. This space corresponded to the composition of the traditional Japanese home. But Raymond also revised the tradition. His homes had a dual orientation: they opened to the view outside and at the same time were organised around a central hearth. As far as aesthetics were concerned, Raymond's buildings were similar to what the Japanese were used to, but they also had all the modern comforts (from the bathroom to the kitchen). They showed more feeling for the quality of light and for the relation to the surrounding nature than did the traditional residential buildings.
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