Changes in architecture reflect interactions among social groups, each of which seems to have a certain “meaning matrix” that is the implicit knowledge required for understanding the meaning of things. Disagreements over meaning matrices occasionally bring about laws regulating the style of architecture. In this paper, the author examines the relation between law and the architecture of Japanese “lovers' inns, ” which are inns with eye-catching facades and screened entrances, catering to couples for short-time or overnight stays, from the viewpoint of the interaction of two social groups; the owners of these inns and local residents.
1) The historical changes in lovers' inns architecture are as follows:
1950s: Inns displaying hot spring symbols were located in city centers.
1960s-early 1970s: Western-style architecture appeared, and “gorgeous” motels imitating Western castles or cruisers proliferated along suburban highways.
Late 1970s-1980s: The appearance of love-hotels (lovers' inns located on urban streets) has become “subdued.”
2) The owners and planners of lovers' inns have had a tendency to use striking decor in order to attract people's attention.
3) Local residents have a desire to conceal things concerning sex, which results in demands for a “subdued” appearance and the exclusion of lovers' inns from residential areas.
4) Reflecting the viewpoint of local residents, regulations covering the appearance, the inside structure, and the location of lovers' inns have been established.
5) The relation between law, architecture, and meaning matrices is shown in Fig. 4. Owners and planners build the inns. Local residents perceive the inns' appearance through their own meaning matrix. When the architecture is not acceptable to the local residents, laws are established, which are implicitly recognized by them. The owners understand the laws and change the style of architecture.