Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Closer Look at Roofs

I pride myself with knowing a good deal about Western, and particularly American, architecture. However, the architecture here in Japan is often completely different, and I'm seeing things I've never encountered before! It's all very new and fascinating.

Perhaps what I find most beautiful and interesting, architecturally, are the roofs. They are very different from what we're used to seeing in the American Midwest.


Tile roofs, much like this roof at Horyu-ji in Nara, are ubiquitous. Newer tiles seem to be made from metal, but many are ceramic. In addition, it's not just the temples and castles that have roofs such as this: houses and train stations even have tiled roofs, and so does JCMU. I've grown very fond of them.

Roof Tiles

There are many different types of ornamentation on these roofs, as seen here on these tiles at Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto.


Most impressive to me, however, are the shingles at Ryoan-ji in Kyoto: this graceful roof is made from tree bark.

Never before have I spent so much time looking at roofs. They're not all that interesting in America, but here, they are sometimes the most-ornamented part of a building.

Roof Detail

1 comment:

  1. Might I recommend Japanese Homes and Their Surroundings by Edward Morse. It was written over 100 years ago, but it's one of the most comprehensive and authoritative looks at traditional Japanese building techniques.