Kanazawa Drift: D.T. Suzuki Museum

(revised October 21: see the new, “2.0” version of ‘Kanazawa Photo Drift’ at https://medium.com/the-big-sushi/kanazawa-photo-drift-e0c4af118c16#.rhkzl02l6)

“wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! And yet again wonderful” – D.T. Suzuki, channeling Shakespeare from As You Like It

In his 2006 book on practical aesthetics The Architecture of Happiness, Alain de Botton writes

“A feeling of beauty is a sign that we have come upon a material articulation of certain of our ideas of a good life.”

(He also wrote that “Our jobs make relentless calls on a narrow band of our faculties, reducing our chances of achieving rounded personalities and leaving us to suspect (often in the gathering darkness of a Sunday evening) that much of who we are, or could be, has gone unexplored.” – but that’s matter for another post…)

I’m not sure of that, but I’m sure of one thing: his spelling’s atrocious buildings shape our moods and ideas and experiences. Thus, every time R. and I visit an art gallery or museum I find myself metally re-decorating: my computer desk goes here, by the picture window onto the rock garden; we can hang the Clifton Karhu on this cool grey concrete wall; some portable screens will break up the space nicely, but the gift shop has GOT to go.

So, when R. and I visited the D.T. Suzuki Museum in Kanazawa, designed by TANIGUCHI Yoshio, who also apparently is responsible for the redesign of the MoMA in NYC, my first and most last thought was, “Of course! Who needs a garden when water will do?” Seriously, there is something almost hypnotically tranquil about the Water Mirror Garden which surrounds the minimal Contemplative Space at the heart of the small, intimate complex of buildings. What is it they say about uniform stimulus with variety, the kind we also find in forests, and the effects it has on the relaxation response? (Seriously: what do they say? I came acorss a great quote about the effects natural environments have on our mood which talked about the nature of stimulation, but can’t remember the term the author used or where I came across it. Anyone else know what I’m referring to? Anyone? Bueller?)

Looks like my fantasy dream house needs some remodelling…

DT Suzuki Museum DT Suzuki MuseumDT Suzuki Museum


4 thoughts on “Kanazawa Drift: D.T. Suzuki Museum

  1. Yes, I’m enjoying The Architecture of Happiness. de Botton articulates some of what I feel when I’m inside a beautiful building. At least I think he does: his writing is sometimes rather dense, and I’m not sure I always get what he means! Do you get that same, spiritual/aesthetic experience from some buildings?

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