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During the project of housing alternative, since my theme is future home, I couldn’t stop recalling a lecture introducing a movement called Metabolism when I was undergraduate.

In the 1960s, there are a group of young architects and designers including Kiyonori Kikutake, Kisho Kurokawa, Arata Isozaki and Fumihiko Maki attempted to resolve the problem of boosting population after world war II.

The concept is to design a building or environment that can continuously metabolize and regenerate itself. One of the most famous projects is the Master Plan for Hiroshima and Hiroshima Peace Center Complex which was designed by Kenzo Tange. the major system suspended 50 meters above the ocean also brought a new idea to Kisho Kurokawa and Arata Isozaki who then image a city growing to the sky. Looking back to the 1930s, there was a similar idea by Le Corbusier who come with a theory of Ville Radieuse to response to the linear growth of population. However, rather than designing ridiculously high-rise building, keeping major green space on the ground and wide free road for vehicle, Metabolism respects the environment more.

One of the most famous cases is 中銀カプセルタワービル (couldn’t find a proper name in English.) It’s a mixed-use residential and office tower which is with capsule units for permanent and practical use. Each capsule unit measured 8.2 ft by 13.1 ft, Moreover, Capsules can be connected as a bigger unit due to their same specification. By designed with the purpose of mass production, 中銀カプセルタワービル represented Metabolism in a particle aspect that the building can grow and transform to fit the changing era with different needs.

Though the movement then stopped, the idea of Metabolism still affects the way of the building environment. The main core of it – Reorganization, regeneration, movement, alteration, and evolution keeps hiding in the shadow of urban design and architecture design today.

References: (2019). Forgemind ArchiMedia. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 May 2019].

Google Books. (2019). 諸眾:東亞藝術佔領行動. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 May 2019].

MOT TIMES 明日誌. (2019). 【代謝派專題】解讀日本代謝派的誕生 – MOT TIMES 明日誌. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 May 2019].


School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509


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