How #Japan handles conservation #Rebuilding

As conservation architects we are taught to respect historical features/details and to retain them as far as practically possible (The Venice and Burra Charters)

But the approach Japan takes in their ancient temples such as the Ise Jingu grand shrine in the Mie Prefecture is an interesting difference and comparison of culture:

Photo from The Independent

The Ise Jingu grand shrine is over 2000 years old. Except that if you went to see it now – the materials that it’s built from are a maximum of 20 years. Every 20 years (for the last 1300 years) the shrine is a symbol of death and renewal – of both change and continuity; and is demolished and then reconstructed in new materials. There is no conservation of the old wood – everything is destroyed and then rebuilt. As well as demonstrating the flux of change and continuity – the reconstruction (which is identical using the same joints and techniques) allows a new batch of apprentices/craftsmen to learn the techniques of traditional Japanese construction.

For more information on this practice click HERE and HERE

I’ve also written on the comparison of Irish and Japanese architecture HERE

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