The art of structural relation: Kazuo Shinohara’s “strong structures” design thinking

Shuaizhong Wang, Toni Kotnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


With increased interest in materials and construction in the architectural field, the use of building structure as the element of architectural expression has gained interest in recent years. In his analysis of contemporary Swiss architecture, Arthur Rüegg has coined the notion of “Strong Structures” for the tendency to activate a load-bearing structure for spatial and conceptual expression. The article applies this notion to the works of renowned Japanese architect Kazuo Shinohara, who has influenced many prominent Swiss figures in the debate over “Strong Structures.” By conducting phenomenological research on his experimental practices in House in White, Tanikawa House, and House in Uehara, the article examines how Shinohara used the organisation of structural elements and relations to express the architectural and cultural context. Finally, by contrasting the structural design methods used in Switzerland and Japan, this article aims to introduce a relational structure design mindset in order to complement and extend the concept of “Strong Structures”, which can enrich structural design by focusing on the art of structural relations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3141-3154
Number of pages14
Issue number6
Early online date5 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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