Jewels --- Selected Writings on Modern Architecture from Asia
edited by Yasushi ZENNO and Jagan SHAH
[In round 01, the] reader will find a variety of subjects, periods, and writing styles represented in the eleven chapters, which contain an archival text, either translated or reproduced, accompanied by an essay that contextualizes the text and its author and illuminates the subject. Thus, round 01 effectively contains more than twenty-two readings covering different periods of the last two centuries, and significant moments in the evolution of architectural thought in Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, India, and Turkey. . . .
The spirit behind this effort is to bring Asian writings and, thereby, Asian ideas, into the public domain, without much ado about definitions and categories that affix themselves so often to meanings of "Asian." . . .
round 01 presents writings on a range of themes derived from the Asian context and its preoccupations. The chapters are loosely grouped under three sections---"Defining 'Architecture' "The Search for 'National' Styles," and "The Urban Context"---that might define the course of the next few rounds. The second section contains the bulk of the writings, and reminds us that the identity politics of the nation has dominated Asian architectural thought, perhaps even limiting it to an obsessive reflection of racial and cultural stereotypes. A later issue of round might further explore this territory. . . .
We expect that the readers of round will find nuggets of insight and wisdom that they did not know existed. During the production process, we have been repeatedly surprised by how much we discover as we set out to engage with the subject of the Asian. From selecting the logo for round, an Indus Valley motif from Mohenjodaro, to the color scheme and the formats, we have been preoccupied with deciding what is beautiful and appropriate for publication, as we would like the reader to also delight in the text. In an age of virtual engagement through dematerialzed technology, the choice of the printed word and the handy book is at least peculiar if not regressive, but the publishing of round 01 should be seen as an initial step towards a longer commitment that will doubtless extend into the World Wide Web and its manifest advantages.
(from Jagan Shah "Introduction" to round 01)