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Indeed, Taniguchi and Maekawa each embody two distinct perceptions of modern architecture and views of its adaptation in Japanese context. Consequently, they were also the two key figures around which the future architectural genealogy would develop, two schools that occasionally adopted and lent principles and members to each other. As much as architecture in Japan was considered the confluence of beauty and technology, Kunio Maekawa, having collaborated with Le Corbusier directly, kept a focus on building performance whereas his students Togo Murano and Kenzo Tange maintained a rigorous interest in aesthetic performance.

Then, after the Tokyo Olympics in and the Osaka Expo of , world architecture entered a period of intellectual change. Many members of the Metabolist movement had already started to be skeptical about the flexibility of the megastructure and the way it embraces human scale. This is precisely the differentiation Fumihiko Maki makes between mega-form, compositional form and group form, the latter described as a condition within which elements stay connected yet independent. This blend of diverse artistic influences he likened to the shadow of a cloud, both unpredictable and elusive.

Besides Isozaki, Kurokawa and Kikutake have employed several styles and aesthetic systems in a semantic way. Charles Jencks perceives this adaptive mixture with previous modes as a tentative way to move away from modernism, an evolutionary rather than a radical departure. He traces the reason this is so evident in Japan to the flexibility of Japanese culture in assimilating and adapting external fragments and the absence of an in-grown avant-garde that would gain validity by inverting precedent principles.


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Makoto Sei Watanabe the technological by using mathematical algorithms and computers to generate form; Jun Aoki a purer modernist approach which combines formal reduction with playful elements rather than minimalist austerity; and Shigeru Ban re-evaluates and re-interprets traditional building methods with ecology and the use of subtle materials. Coincidentally, it is precisely the effects of uncontrolled Japanese urbanization and the rapid worsening of environmental and urban conditions that led to skepticism over the Metabolist schemes.

Again, this can be roughly divided into two approaches, pro-urban and anti-urban. This critical perspective led to two distinct directions that were to influence the generations that followed. Kazuo Shinohara shifted focus on the domestic everyday with his book A Theory of Residential Architecture of , while Hiroshi Hara, notably also a Tange student, expressed doubts on the megastructure and its disregard of physical elements. His students each express an aspect of his research: Shinohara belongs to the Taniguchi line as he studied under Kiyoshi Seike, Dean and professor of architecture at Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Indeed, Shinohara saw the beauty of the city precisely in the fact that it was a manifestation of confusion. Toyo Ito, Itsuko Hasegawa and Kazunari Sakamoto were all students of Shinohara and, in an interesting twist, both Ito and Hasegawa eventually went on to work in the office of Kikutake. Kazuyo Sejima — thus also Ryue Nishizawa and SANAA — borrows this desire for experiential affect from Ito, but translates it through a spectrum of collectivity and a sense of urban assembly.

1970 – Expo’70 Osaka Demonstration Robot – Arata Isozaki (Japanese)

In a way, genealogy and the discussion over Japanese modernization, beyond ground for a critical interpretation of the evolution contemporary Japanese architecture underwent, offer a paradigm of intertwinement themselves. The relation of master and disciple fostered the acceptance of modernist principles as representative of progress and subsequent idealization of modern architecture.

In turn, the discussion over tradition and adaptation nurtured an architectural culture of dialogical manifestation through a combination of practice and representation. However, in the second part of the period that followed, the catapult of Japan to an aggressively growing economic super-power was substituted by the restricting conditions induced by economic recession in the post-bubble era.

Periodicals, being ephemeral and easily reproducible, have early on acted as connecting matter between the vernacular and international tendencies and discourses. This comes as no surprise given that architecture is not only spaces and the design thereof, but a product of culture responding to concurrent needs and conditions, destined to fall in line with the milieu while entailing the potential of instant documentation. Shinkenchiku New Architecture is the oldest surviving architecture magazine in Japan, circulated from as early as the s.

Its bilingual edition, JA: Japan Architect, was first published in and acted as an international forum for local architects and young hopefuls, such as the Metabolists, to communicate their work and visions of a rapidly shifting Japan. On the other hand, SD: Space Design was largely focused on critical debate. SD , which was launched in by Kajima Institute as a social service of the large construction corporation Kajima, ceased publication in Space Design was not the only publication affected by the deterioration of the Japanese economy during the last 25 years.

They both focused on the city, which they explored through quite different aspects. Telescope was published between and by professor, curator and critic Akira Suzuki, and was the realization of a series of wandering issues. Each issue was thematic, drawing inspiration from the observation of the urbanscape with case studies and guest-edited issues by critics and practitioners alike. INAX continues its publishing activity with several series books and replaced its periodicals with a bi-annual publication of mini-monographs by young architects such as Atelier Bow Wow, Kumiko Inui and Sou Fujimoto.

These booklets, entitled Young Architects Concept Series , are self-edited by the architects themselves and each time adopt a different concept to represent their work. In this token, the book is no longer a mere mediating device, but essentially a project in its own right. Surprisingly enough, in this same era of financial halt a dynamic curatorial scene emerged. The public sector inevitably underwent a period of significant scarcity of funding and the crisis dictated a reconsideration of priorities. As a consequence, public museums in Japan entered a phase of introspection.

The shift from exploring larger social issues to drawing on experience from everyday life and immediate personal concerns triggered the expression of individual diversity and a subsequent boom of private exhibition initiatives. Those can be divided into corporate and private arenas.

Private initiatives are large collector museums with an international network like Hara Museum, mid-sized themed institutions like the Watarium and small family-run ones like GA Gallery, an exhibition space and publishing house ADA Edita. The last one from each category is of particular interest, as they focus on architecture exclusively. GA was established in , its distinctive building designed and built by its owners in , with exhibitions started in Its activities are reciprocal, based on the circulation of the publications that concentrate on built work.

Self-described as a place for stimulation, exchange and interaction, MA equally embraces realized projects and the unbuilt and, since the mids, has started TOTO Publishing to accompany its activities. Such curatorial initiatives and small galleries obtained the role of informal education and source of associations in a position to elevate work and processes exhibited to unquestionable acceptance of validity. As such, they permitted fragments of potentiality to flourish operating as a testing platform during the post-bubble period. GA Gallery venue exhibition: One might wonder what comes after that, how has this architectural family tree developed, how this new generation perceives its position within the archi-genealogy as well as their view on the effect of architectural mediation and exchange.

Approaching a group of young professionals under 40 to pose such questions, I had the chance to take a glimpse into the concurrent architectural kitchen in Japan. As the relevant visual material might reveal, their work comprises equal amounts of — either realized or in progress — residential and retail projects.

Both are urban commissions par excellence in Japan, especially Tokyo. But contrary to the group of Tokyoite architects preceding this generation, whose work almost entirely focuses on small urban houses, these younger architects seem to have been engaged considerably early in small yet public commissions, such as small shops, interiors, and sometimes even just facades. This generation shows a particular affinity to playful representation of themselves and their work through display projects and installations, which can be perceived as a tactic both modern and non-modern. It could also be described as elasticizing the Western notion of modernity by simultaneously employing concepts of total living and micro-landscaping, essentially creating a personalized environment.

Positioning chairs and flower pots, arranging teacups and cake cases on tables, and immaculately crafted physical models are all indications of a sort of kawaii cute mini-urbanism that draws from the seminal modern notion of total design. In regards to network opportunism and mediation, I was surprised to receive responses often critical of their sometimes superficial nature and skeptical of their constraints. Indeed, communicative projects like publications and exhibitions are perceived more as singular projects and are welcome as such.

As for references in work and design approach, though all seemed very conscious of this reality and were overly respectful to their former sensei masters , they strongly asserted the independence of their work. Could that be perceived as yet another kind of assimilation, a Japanese pattern of practice, or should it perhaps be recognized as a new occurrence? As one of them — incidentally the younger one from the group — pointed out in her interview, the architecture schools and lines seem to emerge and become more obvious nowadays.

Indeed, it seems to be the case, as the constant branching out family tree growing from the older masters indicates. Instead, I understand it as a self-referential and thus customizable hierarchy, one that allows individualized events and design tactics to become immersive, if not subconscious.

Architectural Association Publications, , Marsilio Editori, , MIT Press, , Academy Editions, , Le Regard de Millieu, ed. Craig Mod and Ashley Rawlings Tokyo: How do you position yourself in this modern architectural genealogy and to what degree has it affected your personal approach to design?

Numerous publications of ranging approaches offer young architects the opportunity to communicate their work. Furthermore, though Tokyo lacks a large institution to host architectural exhibitions for a wider audience, it is equipped with numerous smaller curatorial initiatives specializing in architecture. This exposure has acted as a catalyst in constructing individual approaches for young architects.

Japanese Architecture: Building Peace and Resilience, a Conversation with Paul Tange

How do you find it to be of effect to the broader architectural scene by means of cross-contamination and quality-management? I was very surprised by the photos of the model, it was really interesting, really beautiful, so I went to his office and well, I actually worked there for eight years!

Kenzō Tange

So a lot of things must have happened there. We came up with many new ideas during that period. The office was very creative. This generation of Japanese architects, like Ito or Tadao Ando, have a very clear approach and methodology. They speak of their concept in very clear terms. But I think the generations that follow tend more towards considering the conditions and surroundings, as well as explaining their architecture. We might all share this sort of instinct, but I feel the differences are more important.

Actually, this really impresses me and I am very happy to discuss ideas with other architects from a different background. So I think in a way we are in a fortunate situation. Yet, at the same time, I hope that architecture will eventually gain more social power and effect, because people perceive architecture as a limited part within the field of design and disregard its social aspect. Architecture in Japan is not really social. Scientists reach out to a broader audience and make public appearances in Japan and I very much hope that eventually architecture will also gain such an audience and influence by its own means.

Akihisa Hirata was born in Osaka and studied architecture in Kyoto University. On architectural genealogy Be it traditional or contemporary, as far as architecture is bound to a specific style, it has no value for me. I perceive architecture as an embodiment of the most rational relationship between human and location, climate included. Architecture taking these elements into considerations is essentialy vernacular and still entirely contemporary.

For me, modernity is the intention or tendency to pursue rationalism and I do not place any value on modernism bound to a stylistic approach.


  1. !
  2. The Lion (Tales from The Wild Book 1);
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  4. On mediating platforms The media is a site in its own right and many Japanese architects seem to approach that field as of equal importance to actual built sites. Some especially in my generation may feel media have a deeper sense of reality than actual sites. I adapt myself to the abstract sites of media while positioning the center of gravity on actual sites.

    Architectural media and their mediation are fleeting and ambivalent, thus it may be important for architects to avoid shortening their lives. That said, I do not mind people criticizing my work. Work on the Peace Center commenced in In addition to the axial nature of the design, the layout is similar to Tange's early competition arrangement for the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere Memorial Hall.

    In the initial design the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was dominated by adjoining utility buildings, which were linked to it by high-level walkways. Tange refined this concept to place the museum prominently at the centre, separate from the utility buildings only one of which was subsequently designed by him. In addition to architectural symbolism, he thought it important for the design to centre around the building that houses the information about the atomic explosion. The museum is constructed from bare reinforced concrete.

    The primary museum floor is lifted six metres above the ground on huge piloti and is accessible via a free-standing staircase. The rhythmical facade comprises vertical elements that repeat outwards from the centre. Like the exterior, the interior is finished with rough concrete; the idea was to keep the surfaces plain so that nothing could distract the visitor from the contents of the exhibits.

    The Peace Plaza is the backdrop for the museum. The plaza was designed to allow 50 thousand people to gather around the peace monument in the centre. Tange also designed the monument as an arch composed of two hyperbolic paraboloids , said to be based on traditional Japanese ceremonial tombs from the Kofun Period.

    In Tange and the architectural journalist and critic Noboru Kawazoe were invited to attend the reconstruction of the Ise Shrine. Normally the reconstruction process was a very closed affair but this time the ceremony was opened to architects and journalists to document the event.

    Two Giants of Japanese Architecture: Kenzo Tange and Arata Isozaki Give a New Look to the World

    The ceremony coincided with the end of the American Occupation and it seemed to symbolise a new start in Japanese architecture. In when Tange and Kawazoe published the book Ise: Prototype of Japanese Architecture , he likened the building to a modernist structure: Although the hall has been called one of his finest projects, [15] it drew criticism at the time of its construction for relying too heavily on tradition. Tange's own home, designed in and completed in , uses a similar skeleton structure raised off the ground as the Hiroshima Peace Museum; however, it is fused with a more traditional Japanese design that uses timber and paper.

    The house is based on the traditional Japanese module of the tatami mat, with the largest rooms designed to have flexibility so that they can be separated into three smaller rooms by fusuma sliding doors. The house is topped with a two-tier roof. Kazuo Shinohara 's house at Kugayama is remarkably similar in its design, although it is built with steel and has a simpler rhythm in its facade.

    The fortress-like town hall in Kurashiki was designed in and completed in When it was constructed it was situated on the edge of the old town centre connecting it with the newer areas of the town. Kurashiki is better known as a tourist spot for its old Machiya style houses. Set in an open square, the building sits on massive columns that taper inwards as they rise. The elevation consists of horizontal planks some of which are omitted to create windows which overlap at the corners in a "log cabin" effect.

    The entrance is covered with a heavy projecting concrete canopy which leads to a monumental entrance hall. The stair to this hall ascends in cantilevered straight flights to the left and right. The walls to this interior are bare shuttered concrete punctured by windows reminiscent of Le Corbusier's La Tourette.

    The Council Chamber is a separate building whose raked roof has seating on top of it to form an external performance space. The gymnasium and swimming pool were designed by Tange for the Tokyo Olympics , which were the first Olympics held in Asia. Tange began his designs in and the plans were approved by the Ministry of Education in January The buildings were placed to optimize space available for parking and to permit the smoothest transition of incoming and outgoing people. Inspired by the skyline of the Colosseum in Rome, the roofs have a skin suspended from two masts.

    The roof of the Philips pavilion was created by complex hyperbolic paraboloid surfaces stretched between cables. In both cases Tange took Western ideas and adapted them to meet Japanese requirements. The gymnasium has a capacity of approximately 16, and the smaller building can accommodate up 5, depending on the events that are taking place. At the time it was built, the gymnasium had the world's largest suspended roof span. Two reinforced concrete pillars support a pre-stressed steel net onto which steel plates are attached.

    The bottom anchoring of this steel net is a heavy concrete support system which forms a distinct curve on the interior and exterior of the building. In the interior, this structural anchor is used to support the grandstand seats. The overall curvature of the roof helps protect the building from the damaging effects of strong winds.

    Tange won a Pritzker Prize for the design; the citation described the gynasium as "among the most beautiful buildings of the 20th century". Tange and Uzo Nishiyama were appointed as planners for the masterplan by the Theme Committee. Tange assembled a group of twelve architects to design the infrastructure and facilities for the Expo.

    At the centre of the Expo was the Festival Plaza. Tange conceived that this plaza with its oversailing space frame roof would connect the display spaces and create a setting for a "festival". The plaza divided the site into a northern zone for pavilions and a southern zone for administration facilities. The zones were interconnected with moving pathways. Tange's first placing in the design competition for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park gained him recognition from Kunio Maekawa.

    Founded in this organization of planners and architects had initially promoted architecture in economic and social context, but at its fourth meeting in under the direction of Le Corbusier it debated the notion of the "Functional City". This led to a series of proposals on urban planning known as " The Athens Charter ". By the CIAM meeting that was held in Hoddesdon , England, to which Tange was invited, the Athens Charter came under debate by younger members of the group including Tange who found the Charter too vague in relation to city expansion.

    The "Athens Charter" promoted the idea that a city gains character from its continual changes over many years; this notion was written before the advent of mass bombings and the Second World War and therefore held little meaning for Tange who had evidenced the destruction of Hiroshima. The discussions at Hoddesdon sowed discontent within CIAM that eventually contributed to its breakup after their Dubrovnik meeting in ; [28] the younger members of CIAM formed a splinter group known as Team X, which Tange later joined.

    Kenzō Tange - Wikipedia

    Tange presented various designs to Team X in their meetings. At a meeting in Otterlo , Holland, one of his presentations included an unrealised project by Kiyonori Kikutake ; this project became the basis of the Metabolist Movement. He also looked at the sketches for the new capital of Punjab at Chandigarh , India. His experiences at the conference may have led him to set his fifth year students a project to design a thousand-person residential community to be erected in Boston over the bay. Both this scheme and the earlier ones by Kikutake formed the basis of Tange's speech to the Tokyo World Design Conference in In his speech he used words such as "cell" and "metabolism" in relation to urban design.

    The Metabolist movement grew out of discussions with other members of the conference. Doshi and Jacob Bakema. The conference ended with Tange's presentation of the Boston plan and his own scheme, "The Tokyo Plan — ". The sheer size of the proposal meant that it would stretch out across the water of Tokyo Bay. In Tange was asked by the United Nations to enter a limited competition for the redevelopment of Skopje , which was at that time a city of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

    The town had been heavily destroyed by an earthquake in Tange's design furthered ideas put forward in the earlier "Tokyo Plan". It was designed for three media companies: To allow for future expansion Tange grouped the similar functions of three offices together in three zones. The newspaper printing machinery was on the ground floor, sealed studios on the upper floors and offices on glass walled floors surrounded by balconies.

    Space was left between the cluster of functional space to allow for future expansion, although these have been used for gardens and terraces. Tange's inspiration for his design office came from his friend Walter Gropius who he had first met at the CIAM meeting in While lecturing at the Bauhaus , Gropius had placed great importance on teaching architects, especially imparting on them the concept of working together as a team.

    Tange promoted a very flat hierarchy in the practice: Multiple options were developed simultaneously, and research on individual schemes was encouraged. In , at the behest of Jacques Chirac , the mayor of Paris at that time, Tange proposed a master plan for a plaza at Place d'Italie that would interconnect the city along an east-west axis. For the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building , which opened in , Tange designed a large civic centre with a plaza dominated by two skyscrapers.