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Text and Inversion in the Architecture of Seiichi Shirai
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This dissertation examines the nature of the relationship between symbolism and embodied experience in the work of the Japanese architect Seiichi Shirai, with a special emphasis on the institutional and commercial buildings of the postWorld War Two period. The first part studies the signification and graphic implementation of text in Shiraiʼs buildings, book designs, and calligraphy and the ways that these work together to condition the engagement of the subject. I will trace the development of Shiraiʼs use of text from its early appearance in book design and his first architectural projects to its apogee in the three-dimensional picturesque of the NOA building. In the second part I identify a strategy of “inversion” that plays with the presence, absence, substitution, and juxtaposition of potentially contradictory effects and examine its development from simple contrarian gestures in early residential works to the sophisticated layerings that structure the picturesque experience in the Santa Chiara building, the NOA building, the Shoto Museum of Art, and the Shizuoka City Serizawa Keisuke Museum.
Iisaka, Maki (2019). Text and Inversion in the Architecture of Seiichi Shirai. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from