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The design and construction of ancient Japanese houses were interesting in many ways. These beautiful homes also provided ideas for Frank Lloyd Wright, a famous architect who designed and built the home called Fallingwater in the United States.

1. Read the selection.

The Japanese islands experience torrential monsoon rains, earthquakes, and typhoons.

The traditional Japanese house from the 16th century featured an elegant roof with wide overhangs to protect against bad weather, and a raised floor to keep out mud. Wooden framing and paper walls allowed for easy rebuilding after an earthquake. With its sliding partitions, this “breathing house” opened on all sides to let in cool, fresh air and to give glimpses of a beautiful garden outside.

Woven Flooring


Tatami, which are mats woven of fine straw, formed the floor of the traditional Japanese house. They continue to be used in some present-day homes. According to Japanese custom, visitors must remove their shoes when they enter any home, even modern ones. This tradition helps keep the house clean and preserves the delicate tatami.


A Flexible Layout


The space inside the traditional house could be divided in many different ways by walls, sliding doors, and portable folding screens. Paintings of landscapes, birds, and flowers often decorated these interior partitions. Moving these partitions could change the arrangement and the number of rooms in a few minutes.


Inside Outside


Walls made of special strong paper mounted on a wooden frame provided privacy while allowing light to enter the house. The sections of the wall could slide easily to either side to allow a view of the garden. This design was especially convenient during the hot Japanese summer, when the house could be completely opened up to catch passing breezes.


Privacy and Shade


Blinds made of reeds bound together in long flat sheets hung from beneath the roof. They could be rolled down to provide shade. Garden walls were made of bamboo, bark, or twigs.


Garden Architecture


The gardens were closely linked to the architecture of houses and temples. They were

often designed to be seen from inside the building. The gardens featured painstakingly

raked gravel, flowering moss, paving stones positioned along a path, ponds where colourful carp swam, pines with twisted shapes, and delicate bridges. Japanese bridges inspired the French Impressionist painter Claude Monet, who had one built in his garden at Giverny and used it in his paintings.


Traditional House


Intricate wooden brackets without nails supported roofs made of tiles, boards, or thatch. Only natural materials were used. The traditional Japanese house’s boldness, simplicity, and harmony with its surroundings influenced the great international architects of the 20th century, like Frank Lloyd Wright.


Convertible Space


With its sliding partitions, removable panels, and folding screens, the house could be rearranged for different activities at different times of day. Furniture was limited to pieces that were easy to move: low tables, lamps, and cotton-filled mattresses called futons that were put away during the day and rolled out at night.


Modern Houses


Today, most houses in Japan are built of concrete because it is quick, easy, and inexpensive. This also saves the forests of Japan, which prevent erosion and landslides caused by heavy rains.


The House on the Waterfall


The great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright is known for his daring designs. In 1936, he built a house in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, called Fallingwater, which is world-famous. Its slabs of reinforced concrete are suspended over a natural waterfall. The roofs and terraces stretch out horizontally into the forest. When it came time to free the concrete from its casings, the workers were afraid that the whole house would collapse. Then the architect himself grabbed a pickax and removed the wooden supports. The house held fast!


2. Choose the correct answer.


1. Based on paragraph 1, what does the description of the paper houses most suggest about the people who lived in them?


a. They based their designs on historical buildings.

b. They adapted their designs to deal with nature.

c. They were unable to get sturdy building materials.

d. They were trying to copy buildings from other places.


2. According to the selection, what was true about Japanese gardens?

a. The gardens were used as places of worship.

b. The gardens were used as a way to escape the tiny house.

c. The gardens included many beautiful details.

d. The gardens included plants that could survive in cold weather.


3. What is the most likely reason the selection includes a description of Fallingwater?

a. Fallingwater was built with paper walls like a Japanese paper house.

b. The architect of Fallingwater was inspired by Japanese design.

c. The architect of Fallingwater was Japanese.

d. Fallingwater had Japanese gardens.


4. Based on paragraph 10, why was Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for Fallingwater considered “daring”?

a. The house was built in an unusual setting.

b. The house was built to look like an old house.

c. The house was built using expensive materials.

d. The house was built so that the rooms could be rearranged easily.


5. How is the information in the selection mainly organized?

a. By topic with supporting details.

b. By explaining causes and effects.

c. By the order in which events happened.

d. By describing problems and their solutions.


6. Read the sentences from paragraph 2.

According to Japanese custom, visitors must remove their shoes when they enter any home, even modern ones. This tradition helps keep the house clean and preserves the delicate tatami.

Which word in the sentences helps the reader understand the word tradition?

a. custom.

b. remove.

c. modern.

d. delicate.


7. Read the sentence from paragraph 4.

Walls made of special strong paper mounted on a wooden frame provided privacy while allowing light to enter the house.

Based on the sentence, the word privacy refers to preventing other people from

a. admiring the house.

b. damaging the house.

c. seeing into the house.

d. stealing from the house.



Date: 2015-04-20; view: 1091

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