Metabolism

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At the CIAM Congress in 1959, come together a group of Japanese architects who devote themselves to the forms of organic growth in architecture and particulary to urban planning. They planed participate in 1960 World Design Conference and published a manifesto Metabolism: The proposals for a New Urbanism. Against the backdrop of the heavily destroyed cities and Japan's cultural identity crisis, the radical ideas and futuristic approaches of the Metabolists are based onan adaptatable and self-renewing system of city structures with prefabricated, open-use modules and fixed supply structures.

The name, taken from the biological concept, came from an image of architecture and cities that shared the ability of living organisms to keep growing, reproducing, and transforming in response to their environments.

In the process they also draw upon Buddhist references of regeneration and rebirth. The group of the Metabolists consist of the architects Kishio (Noriaki) Kurokawa, Kiyonori Kikutake, Masato Otaka, Fumihiko Maki and the writer Noboru Kawazoe. Their realized buildings are mainly found in Japan, among them the well-known Nakagin Capsule Tower (1972) by Kisho Kurokawa, which features replaceable individual capsules and an extendable tower. Kenzo Tange's Shizuoka Press and Broadcasting Center also takes up the capsule idea. Comparable approaches in Europe, labeled as megastructures for the most part, are found , among others, with Eckhard Schulze Fielitz, who already designed space city ideas in 1950s and a visionary bridge city over the English Channel together with Yona Friedman in 1963, the Habitat 67 housing complex by Moshe Safidie or the Radnitz multi-use redevelopment proposal by Günter Domenig and Elifried Huth(1965-69).

alt Each time when nuclear testing are taking place the Mayor of Hiroshima sends a letter of protest to demand an immediate halt to such testing.

*I am grateful for useful information from exhibition "Am Ende: Architektur. Zeitreisen 1959 – 2019" in Architekturzentrum Wien

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Japan metabolism-of-identity