Metabolist Movement

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In 1959 a group of Japanese architects and city planners joined forces under the name the Metabolists. Their vision of a city of the future inhabited by a mass society was characterized by large scale, flexible and extensible structures that enable an organic growth process. In their view the traditional laws of form and function were obsolete. They believed that the laws of space and functional transformation held the future for society and culture. Metabolism's development in Post World War II Japan meant that much of the work produced in the movement is primarily concerned with housing issues.

The group's work is often called technocratic and their designs are described as avant-garde with a rhetorical character. The work of the Metabolists is often comparable to the unbuilt designs of Archigram.[1]

The origins of the Metabolist movement lie at the end of the 1950s. After the fall of CIAM, which ceased its operations in 1958, the ideas of Team X were of great influence to young architects around the globe, also influencing young Japanese architects (i.e. Kisho Kurokawa). The World Design Conference of 1960 was to be held in Japan and a group of young Japanese architects were involved with the planning of the conference. Takashi Asada, Kisho Kurokawa, Noboru Kawazoe and Kiyonori Kikutake met and discussed frequently and began to think about the next generation of Japanese architecture. During the conference the Metabolist group presented their first declaration, outlined in a bilingual pamphlet called Metabolism : the proposals for a new urbanism. Contributors to this work were Kiyonori Kikutake, Fumihiko Maki, Masato Otaka, Kisho Kurokawa and Kiyoshi Awazu. There are four copies of this pamphlet in libraries around the world; in the United States, one copy is found at Harvard University and one in the rare books collection of the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley.[2] The idea of Metabolism implemented in modern culture was, besides architectural, also philosophical.

The individual members of the group soon went their own way and their designs in the Osaka Exposition of 1970 can be seen as their last work together.

Their designs relied heavily on technological advancements and they often consist of adaptable plug-in megastructures. Famous projects included the floating city in the sea (Unabara project), Kiyonari Kikutake's Marine City, tower city, ocean city, the wall city, the agricultural city and the 'Helix City' by Kisho Kurokawa, as well as his Nakagin Capsule Tower.

[edit] Affiliated Projects

Japanese Metabolists

Relations with Western Architecture'

The unity of pop and machine: Archigram

[edit] References

  1. ^ Kenneth Frampton, Modern Architecture: A Critical History, (Oxford University Press 1980) p.348.
  2. ^ Kisho Kurokawa, Metabolism in Architecture, (London; Studio Vista , 1977) p.26-27.

Kawazoe, Noboru et al. METABOLISM: the proposals for a new urbanism. (Tokyo: Bitjsutu Syuppan Sha, 1960).

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