A group of young Japanese architects began to explore the idea of ‘Metabolism’ after World War II. Kenzo Tange was one of those architects.
In his words, ‘Metabolism is the name of the group, in which each member proposes further designs of our coming world through his concrete designs and illustrations. We regard human society as a vital process – a continuous development from atom to nebula. The reason why we use such a biological word, metabolism, is that we believe design and technology should be a denotation of human society. We are not going to accept metabolism as a natural process, but try to encourage active metabolic development of our society through our proposals.’
The Shizuoka Press and Broadcast Centre is a distillation of his ‘Metabolist’ ideas. On a constricted, almost triangular site, a 7.7m diameter central core contains stairs, lifts, toilets and kitchens servicing each floor, and then office office ‘pods’ have been attached to that core over 12 levels.
Refer to Arch Daily story for plans and sections.
Some of the roof spaces were initially left as balconies. The idea was that with future demand, the spaces originally left between the office ‘pods’ would be filled with additional offices over time.
The world did not evolve the way Tange envisaged, and no additional offices were added, however the building is a beautiful sculptural composition of form and function.
(Was the memory of this approach embedded in the architectural knowledge of MVRDV when they were thinking about their WoZoCo Housing Project in Amsterdam?)
Architect: Kenzo Tange (Arch Daily)
Photographer: Stephen Varady
Additional Information: Pritzker Prize 1987
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