University of Oulu

Analysis of movement in sequential space : perceiving the traditional Japanese tea and stroll garden

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Author: Sfakiotaki, Despina1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Department of Architecture
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 43.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2005
Publish Date: 2005-04-08
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, for public discussion in the Department of Architecture, Apaja Auditorium (Aleksanterinkatu 4-6), on April 8th, 2005, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Docent Sonja Servomaa
Doctor Anne Stenros


The research aims to investigate the spatiality of the sequential Japanese tea (roji) and stroll garden (kaiyûshiki), whose appearance reached its peak during the Feudal period in Japan (1573–1868), in relation to the perceiver’s locomotion. The desire of that era to go beyond sensual beauty and to make a philosophical statement, led to the development of a garden where the moving participant perceives a series of successive fragmentary views. Such a concept of space, with the principle of successive observation, is a distinct feature of Japan, and can also be observed in urban design, architecture, painting and literature.

This research is about the necessity of incorporating movement in the design of gardens, as a prerequisite for fully perceiving space. It thereby shows how through analysing those two distinct types of sequential spaces, the Japanese tea and stroll gardens, one arrives at patterns of spatial configurations that encourage active participation on the subject’s part. Emphasising the environment-person transaction, the research aims to study the structure and features of the Japanese tea and stroll gardens as sequential spaces, with reference to the affordance possibilities they provide for an individual, as developed by the late James J. Gibson. Although not confined solely to it, the analysis used at the core of this research, is based on Gibson’s ecological approach and on Harry Heft’s contribution to ecological psychology. The empirical part of the research uses a variety of gardens as examples, as well as the case studies of a model teagarden and the garden of Shisendô (situated in the city of Kyoto).

The research aims to acquire accounts of knowledge of techniques and spatial formations that do not ignore or minimise the central importance of the subject’s movement, but on the contrary, fortify and take advantage of it. This body of knowledge can be an initial approach to designing sequential spaces in domains that lack the specific socio-cultural practices by showing some opportunities and potential affordances that every perceiver can pick up using his own background and cultural context.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. C, Technica
ISSN-E: 1796-2226
ISBN: 951-42-7653-1
ISBN Print: 951-42-7652-3
Issue: 218
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2005. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.