There is another thing that was traditionally designed based on our physical size: the house. A house is literally the container that houses our body.
And that is the reason why the unit “foot” has long been used for houses. People used their own body size to design their own container, which makes a lot of sense.
The Japanese traditional unit for housing is “Jyo,” and it represents the size of a Tatami (floor mat covered with rush grass shown in above picture), which measures 3 Shaku x 6 Shaku. A Shaku is an old Japanese metric almost identical to a “foot.” Foot and Shaku both represent our body size.
House design based on Jyo is a “bottom-up” (or maybe we should call it “foot-up”) approach. No matter how big the room or house becomes, it’s always based on your body size. It’s apprehendable.
However, we soon forgot about the coziness and resident-friendliness of foot-up houses as the technology advanced, probably everywhere in the world. And as houses grew in size, so did the size of neighborhoods.
In the US the average size of new single houses continue to grow. While I don’t deny our love for “big-ness,” it is probably true that we haven’t seriously considered what the “apprehendable” house size is for humans that make residents comfortable and engaged.
Winston Churchill once said,
“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”
Don’t we need to ask once again if we are still shaping our houses, or if our houses are now shaping our daily lives, because of their overwhelming size?