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Architecture in Japan: The Metabolist Movement

Page history last edited by debrasantorini 8 years, 4 months ago

 


Brief History: In the late 1950’s a young group of Japanese architects and city planners came together to form the Metabolist group.  Post-war Japan was in need of residential and urban housing. With this in mind the group began designing structures that would formally be capable of maximizing efficiency.  The Metabolists concerned themselves with housing large populations while preserving the autonomy of the individual in a modern world.  Along with this, the Metabolists believed that architectural works should change over time with society; and they should essentially be organic units able to be modified for the good of the group.  It can be noted that this movement does have many similarities to the International Style in both building materials and their combined lack of ornamentation.  Apart from this apparent commonality, the Metabolists rejected traditional architectural beliefs and developed a new conception of form and function. So what do these structures look like?


 

Examples of Metabolist Structures and Urban Designs:

 

Kiyonori Kikutake's Marine City (1968)

 

 


 

Walter Jonas' Funnel City 'Intrapolis' (1960)

 


 

Moshe Safdie's Habitat 67 (Montreal, Canada)

 


Kisho Kurokawa's Nakagin Capsule Tower (1972)

 

 

Capsule Tower!?: The Nakagin Capsule Tower, located in the Shimbashi region of Tokyo, began construction in 1970 and was completed by 1972.  Around this time, the Metabolist members had officially separated and each went their own way.  This, however, would not stop Kurokawa from creating one of the most memorable Metabolist buildings in history.  Kurokawa designed the capsule tower with two things in mind, sustainability and growth. 

 

 

 

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About Kurokawa: Kisho Kurokawa was one of the most notable of the Metabolists to emerge from Japan during this time. Kurokawa was born in central Japan in the city of Nagoya.  As a child in World War II, Kurokawa saw many Japanese cities reduced to rubble in various air-raids, and this essentially is what encouraged him to study architecture.  He attended a university in Kyoto from which he graduated in 1957, and then moved to Tokyo to continue his education.  Kurokawa received his PhD in 1964, where he was supervised by the world-renowned architect Kenzo Tange. Around this time, Kurokawa was able to establish his company Kisho Kurokawa Architect & Associates.

 


 

Nakagin Capsule Tower Specs: 

  • (2) 14 story steel and concrete structural towers (see figure 1)
  • 140 pre-fabricated capsules attached by 4 high-tension bolts (see figure 2)
  • 3,000 square meters of floor area

 

 

 

                                                                     (figure 1)

                                                                      (figure 2)


 

Capsule Life: Kurokawa initially had it in mind that the owners of these capsules, as time went by, would be able to interchange capsules, move them, and even connect them to create larger living spaces for families of businesses.  In addition, to fully make use of the buildings capability for sustainability, the capsules were designed to be replaced every 25 years.  Unfortunately, this has not been the case; the owners, through neglect and complacency, have not replaced the capsules and the Nakagin Tower has either been demolished or soon will be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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