Botond Bognar
DOM Publishers, Berlin, Germany, 2013, English
Nonfiction, Architecture
9.6 x 5.4 inches, paperback, 552 pages, 750 illustrations
ISBN: 9783869221939
Suggested Retail Price: $50.00

From the Publisher. Contemporary Japanese architecture has, over half a century, achieved world-wide recognition not only for its highly innovative, often futuristic qualities, but also for its sensitive response to Japan’s cultural and physical context in the challenging setting of its increasingly urbanized environment. Today it is admired perhaps as much as its traditional counterpart, with which it often maintains a meaningful dialog.

Botond Bognar’s Architectural Guide Japan introduces over 700 of the most prominent examples of this fertile architecture, while outlining its development since the mid-19th century until the present in a concise historical essay. All texts and the individual entries are illustrated with about 750 color photos, all taken by the author, and many drawings. Detailed information about each entry is enhanced by geo-data in the form of QR codes.

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John Hill

In 2012 Berlin’s DOM Publishers put out a two-volume guide (half firsthand account, half government propaganda) to Pyongyang, North Korea, an odd locale given that few people can or will ever visit the city. But this year DOM released an excellent guide to a place where architecture buffs rightfully flock: Japan. While a single guide for a country like the United States does not make sense, Japan is only 9/10 the size of California but home to three times as many people. This guide reinforces the amazing quantity of great 20th- and 21st-century architecture in the country, and Japan expert Botond Bognar’s descriptions give just the right amount of background on the 700 buildings; his introductory essay on the “course of contemporary architecture” is valuable in its own right. This is also a print guide for the digital age, with QVR codes that enable mapping of each entry on a smartphone.

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