A New Wave

The period following the end of Metabolism lacked a distinct style. Instead, several styles previously overshadowed by Metabolism came to light. Architects who left the Metabolism movement also came to develop their own styles.

Tokyoites reveled in their economic and global success in the 80s; however, younger architects (who were more dependent on terms set by Tokyo real estate moguls) began to step away from purely utopian design principles. There was also a radical shift from embracing modernity to what was now considered “post-modernity,” or more specifically, post-modern architecture.

The prosperity of the early 1980s in Japan fueled rapid property and land turnover in Tokyo. Land prices and estimated property values in the city began to skyrocket in the 80s, and with them, annual real estate and inheritance taxes. This made it costly to have any incomplete or empty land plots in Tokyo. Landowners were forced to constantly build, remove, and rebuild structures, which added to the fragmented landscape of 1980s Tokyo. This became a defining trait of Tokyo’s skyline: it was constantly rising and falling with the removal of older structures and appearance of newer ones. By 1993, more than 30% of all city structures were less than a decade old.

In Tokyo they demolish 12,339 square meters (132,644 square feet) of buildings, and newly construct 62,861 square meters (675,755 square feet) daily, while 455 units of new housing start every day.

The overconsumption that took place in Tokyo also motivated business owners to renovate their shops and facilities more frequently than in the 60s and 70s. Large-scale renovations typically occurred in cycles of roughly five to ten years. However, in lieu of extensive (and costly) renovation projects, business owners favored more frequent small-scale renovations on building facades to keep their branding fresh and appeal to the increasingly capricious and disaffected Tokyo consumer.

Enjoying this online exhibition? Let us know by clicking here!