Dana Buntrock, professor of architecture at UC Berkeley, began her studies of Japanese architecture more than 20 years ago, her first visit a month-long trip that took her to tiny corners of the country to see avant-garde and out-of-the-way works. Her more recent research trips still range in remote pockets of the country, now renting cars, carrying a complex array of cameras and seeking out craftsmen who carry on age-old traditions. The architecture she sees is still often avant-garde, but today there are other approaches evident as well, ones more concerned with underscoring the uniqueness of these remote regions.
Buntrock’s first book, Japanese Architecture as a Collaborative Process: Opportunities in a Flexible Construction Culture (E&FN Spon, 2001) looked at professional practice and what it said about a nation’s culture. Her second, Materials and Meaning in Contemporary Japanese Architecture (Routledge, 2010) is concerned with the art and craft of architecture, and how these are used to reflect the particularities of places.
Since 2011, Buntrock has focused on how electricity supply problems can be addressed through building conservation practices. Starting in July 2015, she also heads the university's Center for Japanese Studies.