[K]urating the Kura: Documenting a Japanese Vernacular Typology

Japanese Kura

Interior of a Japanese kura structure. photo / Zachary Taylor Newton

In October 2015, Juliette Dubroca (M.Arch. '11) and Zachary Tyler Newton (M.Arch. '11) traveled to Japan with funding from the Robert James Eidlitz Travel Fellowship to study and document kura. Over the course of three weeks they visited 14 cities to study a broad variety of these small storehouses, and begin defining a typology.

While one would be tempted to draw analogies to sheds or garages in the West, the tradition of the kura is much deeper and more intertwined with the programmatic needs of the home. In the domestic context they are what allows for the austerity of traditional home interiors by containing all the items which a home will use at various times throughout the year, or even over the course of a day. Their robust construction — arising from a need to protect against earthquake and fire — led to the typology's adoption by many industrial and commercial activities.

[K]urating the Kura presents this typology through the mediums of drawing and photography. Dubroca's drawings describe the kura through traditional architectural conventions. Newton's photographs present analogous views of a large number of kura organized according to view and sequenced according to formal elements and details.

Dubroca is a Seattle-based architectural designer and lecturer, and Newton is a New York City–based architectural designer and photographer. During the reception on February 17, Newton will give a short presentation about the project.

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