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Japanese House

Wells Coates's first fifteen years spent in Japan were a deep and lasting influence. In a letter written after Coates's death to his daughter Laura Cohn, his fellow architect Walter Gropius wrote

"I wish you could have been with us when he visited us after we had just returned from Japan. It was as if a door to a secret room had suddenly been opened and he became more and more entranced after our remarks about Japanese culture had started a whole reaction in himself. His deep tenderness for his early Oriental experiences made him really glow..."

The title of Laura Cohn's book was inspired by the words of Gropius's letter. The Japanese house shown here is from a postcard sent to Wells Coates by the Gropiuses when they visited Japan.

For further references to Walter Gropius see IDEALS and LAWN ROAD FLATS.

These pages from a letter to Coates's daughter, 29 July 1944, vividly recall some early experiences in Japan, as does this extract from an early diary.

Flat designed for Charles Laughton and Elsa LanchesterJapanese themes are found again and again in Coates's work, as in this flat designed for Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester. The sliding screen and the specially arranged vase of flowers are typical features of a Japanese house.


For further references to Japan see SUCCESS.