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Fudo: An East Asian Notion of Climate and Sustainability

Department of Architecture and Architectural Engineering, Seoul National University, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu 151-742, Korea
Buildings 2013, 3(3), 588-597; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings3030588
Received: 15 July 2013 / Revised: 21 August 2013 / Accepted: 2 September 2013 / Published: 9 September 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Conscious Architecture)
My paper discusses an East Asian notion of climate and its significance for sustainability. A particular reference is the environmental philosophy of Tetsuro Watsuji (1889–1960), a Japanese philosopher who reflected upon the meaning of climate, or “fudo” in the Sino-Japanese linguistic tradition. Watsuji sees fudo not merely as a collection of natural features—climatic, scenic, and topographical—of a given land, but also as the metaphor of subjectivity, or “who I am”. Furthermore, this self-discovery through fudo is never private but collective. By referring to a phenomenological notion of “ek-sistere”, or “to be out among other ‘I’s”, Watsuji demonstrates the pervasiveness of a climatic phenomenon and the ensuing inter-personal joining of different individuals to shape a collective sustainable measure in response to the phenomenon. My paper lastly concretizes the significance of fudo and its inter-personal ethical basis for sustainability by dwelling upon cross-ventilation in Japanese vernacular residential architecture. Cross-ventilation emerges only through what Watsuji calls “selfless openness” between different rooms predicated upon the joining of different ‘I’s soaked in hotness and humidity. Watsuji’s fudo thus offers a lesson that without considering the collective humane characteristic of a natural climatic phenomenon, any sustainable act is flawed and inefficient. View Full-Text
Keywords: Tetsuro Watsuji; fudo; climate; the inter-personal; sustainability; cross-ventilation; japanese residential architecture Tetsuro Watsuji; fudo; climate; the inter-personal; sustainability; cross-ventilation; japanese residential architecture
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Baek, J. Fudo: An East Asian Notion of Climate and Sustainability. Buildings 2013, 3, 588-597.

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