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Metabolist Movement See also Mid-century modern, Fantasy Architecture

Japanese Metabolists    
Living in a capsule (Akira Shibuya 1966, Youji Watanabe 1967, Kisho Kurokawa 1970-72). The Nakagin Capsule Tower Kenzo Tange's classic (and unrealized) Metabolist planning scheme for Tokyo Bay. 1960. Kiyonoiri Kikutake, Marine City (1958-63).
Western Emulators    
Habitat, Montreal Expo, 1967 World's Fair, Montreal, Quebec (Moshe Safdie, 1967) Funnel city 'Intrapolis' (Walter Jonas 1960) Space city (Yona Friedman 1959-63)
Yona Friedman Yona Friedman- proposed building a suspended city in a huge space frame. Akro-Polis leisure city (Justus Dahinden 1974)
"Urban structures for the future" Justus Dahinden (1971)    
Leisure city Kiryat Ono near Tel Aviv (Justus Dahinden 1984) Overbuilding the city of Ragnitz (Günther Domenig 1963-69) Überbauung Ragnitz-Graz Swimming Hotel Kairo (Justus Dahinden 1972)
The unity of pop and machine: Archigram    
Plug-in-City, Living Pod and Capsule Tower (Peter Cook 1964-66) Walking City and Instant City (Ron Herron 1964-70) Trickling Towers and Layer City (Peter Cook 1978-82)
Metabolist Movement

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.

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: Metabolism 1960 – a Proposal for a new Urbanism. Contributors to this work were Kiyonori Kikutake, Fumihiko Maki, Masato Otaka, Kisho Kurokawa and Kiyoshi Awazu.[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.

^ Kenneth Frampton, Modern Architecture: A Critical History, (Oxford University Press 1980) p.348.
^ Kisho Kurokawa, Metabolism in Architecture, (London; Studio Vista , 1977) p.26-27.
In a combination of technological belief, architectural extremity, love of pop inspired culture and vision of a technocratic future and desire for social change, archigram dominated the architectural avant garde in the 1960s and early 1970s

 The group collaborative efforts produced hilarious, provocative challenges to bauhaus models of architecture, exploding our notion of architectural practice and the limits of reality. It was formated in 1961 by a group of young London architects – Warren Chalk, Peter Cook, Dennis Crompton, David Greene, Ron Herron and Michael Webb. The unique strength of the working group that became the fulcrum of Archigram was that it was six people with a range of greatly differing perspectives, tastes, skills, age, politics and backgrounds.

Walking City in New York, 1964
 one more sketch by architect  Ron Herron, Archigram, of the walking city:
Archigram, was also the name of their famous broadsheet whose title sheet proclaimed that it 'was founded as an occasional journal/manifesto of dynamic ideas for new architecture.' The first issue in May 1961 was priced ninepence. By issue 9, in 1970 it was selling over 5000 copies, in many countries. The power of the manifesto, especially in its drawn form, to promote concepts and advance their own and others' thinking, was crucial in Archigram's attack on conventional thinking. There are connotations here of the Futurists, the Italian Urbanists, and the Metabolists, of whose work Archigram were aware, as they were of many other architectural influences in the USA, Europe and Japan - notably Buckminster Fuller, Louis Kahn and the Vienna circle. Read more

Plug In City,
Mixed media collage by Peter Cook for Archigram. 12 x 18.5 in.  
PLUG-IN CITY, © Peter Cook, Archigram


 A 3 dimentional model of the PLUG-IN CITY:


Instant City Airships, 1968, Archigram

INSTANT CITY, 1970 © Ron Herron, Archigram

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