5.1.Japan-map-of-country-with-bullet-train – Introduction to Japan and sustainable practices

Japan seems to be a country of juxtaposition and contradiction. A profound love of nature coexists with an equally deep love of technology. Both loves are rooted in a microcosm of quality over quantity. “Nature” for the Japanese is anything from the detailed engineering and markings on an insect to a walk through an immaculately manicured and controlled garden. “Technology” is anything from fast-food sushi to miniaturized electronics. Steeped in tradition that has evolved over two thousand years, this nation struggles with maintaining its culture while rushing into the twenty-first century with the enthusiasm of nineteenth-century American prospectors.

I had the good fortune of traveling extensively throughout Japan and also working for Kinya Maruyama, one of my master’s of architecture professors, from the University of Pennsylvania. Kinya is a pioneer in environmentally sustainable architecture and a celebrated architect who teaches as a guest professor at Penn. Kinya’s office is in Tokyo, where I worked in his studio, Atelier Mobile, in 1992. He not only gave me the work experience and a place to live in a small apartment, but he set in motion the thinking process that has shaped my work ever since. The observations from Japan resonate today, as America strives to build sustainable practices and energy independence.

Author and illustrator: Charlie Szoradi is an architect, inventor, and the CEO of Independence LED Lighting. He writes about many other topics related to sustainable practices and sustainable design through his extensive travels around the world.

If you have found this posting online, it is an excerpt from Mr. Szoradi’s book Learn from Looking that served as the inspiring seed content for this drawing share resource. For additional drawings and insights on sustainable practices, we hope that you enjoy exploring LearnfromLooking.com. You can search via general terms such as sustainability as well as narrower terms such as Japanese architecture, sustainable practices, urban planning, etc.