This paper expounds on the historical transition of the cross-sectional form and design features of Noh theaters built from the Meiji era to the early Showa era. For this paper, analysis was conducted on the cross-sectional forms of modern Noh theater, and placed into five categories. As a result, the spatial characteristics of each type of theater appeared most prominently in the relation between the auditorium and the ceiling height of the auditorium.
Next, analysis was conducted on the trends of the cross-sectional shape of the target cases, the relationship between the ceiling height of the auditorium, the roof type and the roofing material, and the ceiling finish. First, although the cross-sectional shapes do not keep unified trends of any type, there is a phenomenon where the auditorium started enveloping the stage more and more after the start of the Taisho era. Along with this, it was pointed out that the ceiling height at the auditorium area continued to grow larger.
Next, looking at the design characteristics of the viewing area, it was determined that regardless of the type of cross-sectional shape, the roof type and roofing material are based on tiled roofs, and finished in a Japanese-style design such as coffered ceiling or board and batten ceiling. This trend also shows in the external appearance. The example cases from the Meiji era to the Taisho era were not considered Western designs at all, and the reinforced concrete structures in the Showa era also showed a design using a Japanese motif, pointing out to a trend of Japanese tastes.
The appearance of designs conforming to Japanese tastes were often requested for appearance in design competitions in the early Showa era. However, in the case of Noh theaters, the stage, which has not changed in form since pre-modern times, is installed in the interior space. It is thought that the trial and error development of its architectural style happened in the interior viewing space rather than the exterior. Finally, what kind of Japanese expression was attempted at Noh Theater using the description of design specifications by the designer was also analyzed. In the case of the Umewaka-nogakudoh, the auditorium was designed with a functional emphasis on ventilation without matching the traditional architectural style of the Noh stage and auditorium. On the other hand, in the case of Hosyokai-nohgakudoh, the Noh stage and the auditorium are in conflict with each other because the ceiling height has risen, and the Noh stage and the auditorium employ the architectural style of temples to create harmony between the auditorium and stage.
These techniques are similar to the Japanese tastes of the early Showa era. In the case of Noh theaters, the pursuit of an unique Japanese architectural style was triggered by the transformation of the structure of the building and the interdependence with elements of the Noh stage rather than the trend of Japanese tastes that demanded an eye for exterior design. Accordingly, there is a big aspect of design exploration of the internal space. The design decision process that extends not only to the exterior but also to the interior space can be seen as a Japanese expression unique to Noh theater.