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Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto, Japan

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Originally appeared in Eastern Promise
on August 25, 2011
Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto, Japan

The sprawling 16-acre Katsura Imperial Villa was commissioned in the 17th Century by a pair of father-son princes, and attributed to a cadre of craftsmen and consultants. Though its rich architectural language—a polychrome of woods, wallpapers, decorative plasterwork, and swooping roofs—is more resplendent than restrained, its geometric sensibility and modular construction easily aligned with the ideals of 20th-century modernists.

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