Restoration of historical wooden architecture in Japan

Exhibition with an introductory speech in the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim, department of architecture, Am Hohnsen 2, 1st floor,
from 19/05/1999 to 27/05/1999

Ever since its presentation by Frank Lloyd Wright and Bruno Taut, Japan's historical wooden architecture has been fascinating western experts. Unfortunately, until recently, there had been very little knowledge in Europe about the protection and the restoration of this singular heritage. Considering the fact that preservation experts in charge of historical buildings can learn a lot from the concepts and the techniques developed there, this was all the more deplorable. A lot of this knowledge can be applied to the restoration of our own historical wooden architecture.

In this mobile exhibition, the restoration methods developed by Japanese monument-care specialists were shown for the first time, by way of photographs, historical building parts and models.

The exhibition centered around the restoration of the Fudo-hall, constructed around 1300, dedicated to the Buddhist deity Fudo and protected by the State as national treasure. The hall is located in the main temple of the Shingon-school of Buddhism, on the mountain Koya which is located 80 kms outside of Osaka.

Additions to the historical components showed, in an exemplary fashion, the methods used in Japan. Models of roofs made of bark, wooden shingles and tiles offered a tangible experience of the plurality of materials and techniques applied to the roofing cover of historical buildings. Typical wooden connections on historical parts provided the visitors with a first hand experience of the Japanese way of repairing wooden architecture.

The exhibition was organized by the Hornemann Institute in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, department of architecture.

It was composed by the art historian and master cabinet maker Christoph Henrichsen who was involved in the restoration of a temple hall over three years. It was first presented on the denkmal '98 where it won an award.


(c) Photo: Christoph Henrichsen, Andernach