Starting year 2021

Nagoya University
Institute for Advanced Research / Graduate School of Humanities
YLC Designated Assistant Professor

Research Areas:Social Infrastructure (Civil Engineering, Architecture, Disaster Prevention)
Humanities & Social Sciences

Research fields

Architectural History
Documentation of Architecture
Architectural Archives

Research Interests

Byzantine Architecture
Archives of church architecture
Relationship between architecture and society
Multidisciplinary usage of archives

Professional Memberships

Architectural Institute of Japan
Japan Association for Byzantine Studies
Japan Society for Medieval European Studies

Main research topics

The Byzantine Empire (395-1453) once existed on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. My research focuses on the architecture of that, particularly the ecclesiastical one. The Byzantine Empire and its culture are not very familiar. Still, in the Eastern Europe and the Middle East regions where the Empire once existed, it had a significant impact on architecture and many other fields. The Byzantine Empire existed for more than a thousand years. Its architecture differs significantly in character from its beginning to its end. I am particularly interested in the middle and late Byzantine architecture from the 9th century onwards, when the Iconoclastic Controversy (726-843) was over. During this period, Byzantine society established a theological thought, most of the liturgical procedures in the churches and an arrangement of the wall paintings. At the same time, however, the architectural forms of Byzantine churches became rather diverse from the Middle Period onwards. I would like to understand the relationship between architecture and society through these questions.
My research consists of two parts: research about a methodology of architectural documentation and research to understand regional and historical changes in architecture using such documentation. The latter has focused on so-called the cross-in-square type, one of the most common architectural types in Middle Byzantine architecture, and has discussed its regional and period characteristics. The former focuses on architectural documentation methods conducive to conservation and restoration. Such documentation is very accurate, but there has not been sufficient discussion on utilising such accurate data in research, preservation, or education. The project of T-GEx will focus on what the documentation should be for various fields.

Representative papers

Ryo Higuchi, Satoshi Nasu, The Derivation of the Cross-in-Square Churches in terms of their Interior Tectonic Configuration: The Genealogy of the Cross-in-Square Churches during the Middle Byzantine Period (1), Japan Architectural Review 2(2019) no.4, 530–544.
DOI: 10.1002/2475-8876.12116

Ryo Higuchi, Tamaki Suzuki, Mina Shibata, Yoko Taniguchi, Murat Gülyaz, “Digital non-metric image-based documentation for the preservation and restoration of mural paintings: the case of the Üzümlü Rock-hewn Church, Turkey” 7 (2016) no.14, 31–42.
DOI: 10.4995/var.2016.4241

Research URL


Global issues to be solved through this project

Construction of 3D-archive of architecture appliable for the multidiscipline

The Byzantine churches that once existed on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean expressed the theological ideas that were fundamental to society at the time through architecture and art. They contain a diverse range of information, including murals and inscriptions. However, the management of all such precious cultural heritage is not adequate. The destruction and loss threatened by the region’s ongoing terrorist or civil war and the ever-increasing number of tourists. Yet, we are responsible for adequately documenting the cultural heritage inherited from previous generations and passing it on to the next generation. We seek to develop appropriate recording methods for architecture, a complex of cultural heritage lost for various reasons, and make such records available to various academic disciplines along industry, government and the private sector.


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