Measure and Construction of the Japanese House


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Heino Engel studied architecture at Darmstadt Technical University in Germany following World War II. In 1952, then aged 27 and already chief architect in the office of Ernst Neufert, he left the country to gain new experience and perspective abroad. He traveled through Egypt and Arabia, spent more than a year in India, Burma, Malaysia, and Thailand, and arrived in Japan in the summer of 1953. There, in his own words, he "realized that the Japanese house is as invaluable an experience for the contemporary architect as are the ancient Acropolis of Athens in Greece and the modern high-rise office towers of the United States." Staying with a Japanese family in Otsu on Lake Biwa and earning his living teaching at Kyoto University, Engel remained in Japan for three years, studying the Japanese house, people, life, language, and culture, and also becoming a member of the Architectural Institute of Japan. In the fall of 1956 he took up a position as associate professor at the School of Architecture of the University of Minnesota. In 1964 the author returned to Germany, where he pursued his career as an architect and taught at the Offenbach Institute of Design.

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Mira Locher is an architect and professor who works in the U.S. and Japan. She studied at Smith College before receiving her Master of Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After working for Team Zoo Atelier Mobile in Japan for seven years, she set up an architectural practice in the U.S. with Takayuki Murakami. Mira Locher is Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba (Canada). She is the author of Super Potato Design, Zen Gardens and Zen Garden Design.

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