»I don’t mistrust reality of which I hardly know anything. I just mistrust the picture of it that our senses deliver.«

Gerhard Richter

Blog Agenda

Harvard: A Non-retro Retrospective

  • Kiyonori Kikutake, "Marine City, Unabara," Sketch, 1960. (Photo: www.archimaera.de) 1 / 4  Kiyonori Kikutake, "Marine City, Unabara," Sketch, 1960. (Photo: www.archimaera.de)
  • Concept model of Kikutake's Marine City. (Photo: Tomio Koyami Gallery) 2 / 4  Concept model of Kikutake's Marine City. (Photo: Tomio Koyami Gallery)
  • Kikutake's Osaka Expo Tower, 1970. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons) 3 / 4  Kikutake's Osaka Expo Tower, 1970. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
  • Matsumi Tower, 1976. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons) 4 / 4  Matsumi Tower, 1976. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The Metabolist architecture of late 1950s Japan was nothing if not futuristic. It makes sense, then, that a current retrospective of one of the movement’s leading practicioners, Japanese architect Kiyonori Kikutake (1928-2011), feels remarkably current. The Harvard Graduate School of Design exhibition, Tectonic Visions Between Land and Sea, will be ending soon…but it’s ending with a bang: Toyo Ito – Kikutake’s protégé, and of course one of the Golden Lion winners at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale – will give a much-anticipated lecture entitled What was Metabolism? at the exhibition’s conclusion. 

Curated by Ken Tadashi Oshima, the retrospective presents both Kikutake’s built works (like his movable, modular Sky House) and his unrealized ones (like his fantastic plans for floating marine cities). Kikutake’s 1958 Marine City formed a central part of the Metabolist Manifesto released at the 1960 World Design Conference in Tokyo. Though an integral part of the Metabolist movement, Kikutake was also an independent thinker – and experimenter. For example, featured prominently in the exhibition is the Sky House, the architect’s own family residence which was designed to be forever changing as his children grew. Kikutake famously said, “An architect’s ability is best judged from the house he lives in.”

Tectonic Visions Between Land & Sea: Works of Kiyonori Kikutake
Exhibition curated by Ken Tadashi Oshima 
24 August – 16 October, 2012
Harvard University Graduate School of Design
48 Quincy Gund Hall

What was Metabolism?
Lecture by Toyo Ito
16 October, 6:30 pm
Piper Auditorium, Gund Hall
48 Quincy St., Cambridge, MA



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