Penguin Environmental Design

Utsuroi in Japanese Architecture and Landscape

Utsuroi in Japanese Architecture and Landscape

Utsuroi: changing space Utsuroi, another Japanese spatial concept that causes the self/space boundary to blur, is present throughout Japanese architecture and gardens. Utsuroi means gradual and inevitable change from one state to another. It can also refer to reflection or projection of one thing onto another. Both meanings suggest that nothing is reliable, and everything is […]

Are Online Meetings Noisy?


Imagine that you are working in the office trying to make a deadline. But your coworker starts on-line meeting with his computer next to your desk. His voice is loud for the mic to catch it. “Dumb it! He is so noisy!”. You must be irritated with this situation. Noise causes stress. Luckily, to mediate […]

Yugen and the Art of Mysteriousness in Japanese Architecture


[videojs_video url=”″ poster=””] Yugen: appreciating the unknown Japan is a country made up of islands. Surrounded by the ocean, its climate is humid and constantly changing. Along the coast, high mountains are often covered in mist and fog. In part, familiarity with these transforming, obscured landscapes–as seen in this scroll from the Edo period–is what […]

Self, Space, and Beyond: Where and How Do We Experience Mindfulness?

Connections between the mind, body, and environment Imagine you are walking through an outdoor path in Kyoto, surrounded by bamboo. While you walk, your blood pressure happens to decrease. Is it because you are taking in the smells of the bamboo as you walk? Is your mind communicating a positive reaction to the space to […]

“Clouds, Bubbles, and Waves” of Japanese architecture

What are “clouds, bubbles, and waves”? They suggest impermanence of Japanese architecture, but also resiliency of it. At the symposium on this very curious subject at Yale School of Architecture, Yoko Kawai of PED had a pleasure to moderate one of the sessions. Japanese architecture is known for its respect to the impermanence of life […]

Japanese + Modern