Audio Text: Shoji Screens

The window coverings, or Shoji Screens, are a common element in Japanese architecture. Shoji is a modern term that is used to refer to translucent paper doors and windows. Mira Nakashima, along with help from her brother Kevin, designed and constructed the screens you see in the space. Each screen is proportioned differently due to the window sizes, but Mira followed traditional proportions closely in their creation.

Customarily, each rectangular segment of the shoji screen was made up of 11 inch wide rolls, but now contemporary architects use paper in larger sheets. Mira used Port Orford Cedar for the wood in the screens, a type of wood that her father used when he was able to obtain it. It is a very dense, hard and aromatic wood. 

Shoji screens are used for both for dividing up rooms and to cover windows. They insulate well against heat and cold and also diffuse light. As wall dividers, shoji can be easily removed to convert a whole floor of a house to a single large room. 

After you listen to this audio stop, take a moment to open one of the screens. Through the window you can see the Museum’s sculpture Garden and the former Bucks County prison wall.