DIANE JONES (architecture) is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of the Built Environment at UNSW and an executive director of Sydney firm PTW. A regular visitor to Japan, her work on exhibit here describes her interest in spatial layering and in particular the use of screening devices to provide additional texture.

Coffs Harbour Justice Precinct

For PTW design team Katrina Vrdoljak and Lindsay Webb

The quality that we call beauty…must always grow from the realities of life.

Tanizaki Jun’ichiro, quoted by Donald Richie in A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics, 2007

It is solely for these realities that a regional justice precinct, comprising a police station and a courthouse, exists – and may seem an incongruous vehicle for exploring the influence of Japanese cultural traditions in Australia.

Yet the reflection afforded by this exhibition revealed an approach by our design team that echoes several aspects of Japanese design thinking.

a net of associations composed of listings or jottings, connected intuitively…hence the Japanese uses for juxtaposition, for assembly, for bricolage.

Donald Richie, 2007 

Visiting a recent exhibition of folding screens and horizontal scrolls (emakimono) of the 18th century masters Jakuchu and Buson in Tokyo helped to crystallize this understanding.

that the design should allow each person moving through the succession of moments or spaces to build their own experiential picture of the whole


that imperfection is to be treasured – with the sometimes surprising mixture of materials, forms and images, always rich in texture


that there is a sense of quietness, even gentleness.