James Brown: Japanese Minka

"Minka: originally a house in its most simple form, a term reflecting on the vernacular practice from region to region, often associated with the picturesque farmhouses in the countryside, and gradually developing into a collective dwelling of farm, fishermen, mountain, and merchant homes. Due to this vast divergence of homes, a standard was set, a common set of "rules" to govern the development of the minka, but the allure of minka evolved and exceeded its original form, overwriting the attempted set standard. With each dwelling and each inhabitant, the minka acquired a new form. It thus becomes evident that the diversity and charm of minka is a result of a human's interpretation of necessity and local customs to create a suitable dwelling." - Excerpt from Interpretational Comfort, a paper by James Brown.

James Brown, a Bachelor of Design Studies student studying Historic Preservation and Sustainable Design, recently went on a trip to Japan to explore traditional Japanese houses known as Minka. James was in Japan for 6 weeks in the summer of 2014 traveling to a new region each week totaling in the visit of 22 prefectures, 15 castles, and over 150 temples. Through the study of different regional cultures and climates, he set out to discover what made each minka unique. Upon return, he presented his research to his Historic Preservation Philosophy and Practice Class at the BAC and earned 300 BDS Practicum hours.