Lessons from Japan: a look at Century Housing System

Japanese traditional wooden houses are a good example of system architecture. Originating from Chinese temple construction, the housing is based on the distance between column centres known as a ken. Both the widths and depths of all spaces were multiples of this standard unit and formed the frame of reference for the remaining components – timber structure, tatami mats, doors, and even furniture. Modern housing moved away from this type of construction in an effort towards mass production. In the mid-70s, when the number of houses surpassed the number of households, a shift occurred from focusing on quantity to quality, and the emphasize returned to a more systemic approach in the context of the industrialized era inspired by a systems approach to schools in the UK (CLASP) and the US (SCSD). [Continues.]