Debates on History and Heritage between East and West

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The collaboration between KIT and TU Delft started out with the central theme of machiya, a traditional type of wooden townhouse, known in Kyoto as kyomachiya. Rather than Kyoto’s pre-eminent monuments like shrines, temples or one of the 17 world heritage sites, the vernacular architecture of the kyomachia seemed to be the ideal study subject, addressing conservation issues and the need for adaptation to both contemporary demands and new uses. With over 40,000 machiya still in existence, this building type is very characteristic of the cultural landscape of Kyoto. Machiya, built on narrow parcels and recognizable by their closed street facades (omoté), originally combined a residential function with a commercial one.