Metabolism / Modernism

Order is born from chaos, and chaos from order. Extinction is the same as creation... We hope to create something which, even in destruction will cause subsequent new creation. This something must be found in the form of cities we were going to make—cities constantly undergoing the process of metabolism [13].



• A broad category of architecture that rejected ornaments and decorum in favor of rational building logic. Purely modernist designs are based on function and minimalism.


• A typology that falls under the category of Modernist architecture.

A Japanese architectural movement that emerged in the 1960s as a direct response to the infrastructure damage caused by two world wars and natural disasters. It entailed fusing megastructures (interconnected, dense cities and urban areas) with numerous biological and philosophical principles.

Metabolists insisted that cities should be designed like living organisms and their ecosystems—with a spine-like structure serving as a foundation for cell-like extensions. Metabolist architecture was intended to be resilient and capable of withstanding damage even on a regular basis.

They borrowed ideas from biology to create the broader idea of genetic architecture, with shapes and forms that decayed naturally but could also be duplicated or swapped out with ease.

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Metabolist and modern architecture design principles continued to dominate in the 1970s. Iconic and experimental architecture continued to sprout up across Tokyo. Expo ‘70 was hosted in Osaka from March to September of 1970. Innovators in technology, design, and architecture traveled outside of Tokyo in order to present their latest findings. Expo ’70 also shared many common traits with the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. There were representatives for each participating country and each had their designated living quarters and uniforms. Many countries also showcased their culture and cuisine within their imposing pavilions.

The Furukawa Pavilion (center) with the Midori-Kan (left). It is a reproduction of Japan’s famous 8th-century Todaiji temple in Nara. Like the Expo’s main symbol, the Tower of the Sun, the Furukawa Pavilion also linked the past and present dreams of Japanese society.

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