Project Japan: Metabolism

Project Japan: Metabolism

OMA sent us an absolutely fascinating book that tells the history of the Japanese architecture movement known as Metabolism. “Between 2005 and 2011, architect Rem Koolhaas and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist interviewed the surviving members of Metabolism, together with dozens of their mentors, collaborators, rivals, critics, proteges, and families. The result is a vivid documentary of the last avant-garde movement and the last moment that architecture was a public rather than a private affair…” You can see a few of the iconic buildings from the Metabolism movement here on ArchDaily: works by Kenzo Tange and Kisho Kurokawa’s Nakagin Capsule Tower.

If you are not familiar with Japan’s architectural history during the 1930s then the beginning of this book is eye-opening. Architects, including the future leaders of the Metabolism movement, had their eyes on designing utopias in the newly conquered lands of China, Korea, Mongolia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Burma, the Philippines, and Indonesia. They envisioned their designs arising out of a tabula rasa. Ironically, it would be the wholesale destruction of Japan during World War II that would provide these architects with that “tabula rasa”. Interestingly, when Koolhaas interviews Arata Isozaki, you discover that Kenzo Tange never spoke of the two competitions he won during the war years and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.


007 Acknowledgments 011 Rem Koolhaas Movement (1) 017 Hans Ulrich Brist Movement (2) 022 Note on the text 024 Arata Isozaki 056 Tabula Rasa 084 Toshiko Kato 102 Tange Lab 128 Kiyonori Kikutake 174 Birth of a Movement 206 Metabolism 1960 222 Noboru Kawazoe 266 Tokyo Bay 294 Fumihiko Maki 334 On the Land, on the Sea, in the Air 372 Kisho Kurokawa 440 Media Architects 474 Kenji Ekuan 506 Expo ’70 550 Takako Tange Noritaka Tange 590 Expansion/Exile 638 Atsushi Shimokobe 660 Project Japan 696 Postscript: Toyo Ito 699 Project Japan 1940-1985: Timeline 706 Image Credits 710 Index 717 Cast of Characters

Paperback: 684 pages Publisher: Taschen (October 28, 2011) Language: English ISBN-10: 3836525089 ISBN-13: 978-3836525084

About this author
Cite: Amber P. "Project Japan: Metabolism" 04 Mar 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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