Tectonic Visions Between Land & Sea: Works of Kiyonori Kikutake

Exhibition at the Harvard Graduate School of Design Curated by Ken Tadashi Oshima

JA+U : Tectonic Visions Between Land & Sea: Works of Kiyonori Kikutake Exhibition at the Harvard Graduate School of Design Curated by Ken Tadashi Oshima © Justin Knight

Photography courtesy of Justin Knight

JA+U : Tectonic Visions Between Land & Sea: Works of Kiyonori Kikutake Exhibition at the Harvard Graduate School of Design Curated by Ken Tadashi Oshima © Justin Knight

Photography courtesy of Justin Knight

The following text was kindly provided by Ken Tadashi Oshima, Guest Curator:

For more than half a century, visionary architect Kiyonori Kikutake (1928- 2011) pursued Metabolic Architecture, embracing forces of renewal, recycling, and transformation. Following the debut of his own Sky House (1958) and Marine City (1958) at the 1959 C.I.A.M. Conference in Otterlo, Kikutake became a leading voice of Metabolism, the architectural movement launched at the 1960 World Design Conference in Tokyo, and then was further brought to an international stage at the New York Museum of Modern Art’s 1961 “Visionary Architecture” exhibition. Most recently, Rem Koolhaas has brought the Metabolist cause to contemporary discourse in his book, Project Japan (2011).

JA+U : Izumo Administration Building by Kiyonori Kikutake © Shinkenchiku-sha

Izumo Administration Building by Kiyonori Kikutake © Shinkenchiku-sha

For Kikutake, such transformative architecture built on the centuries-old tradition of wooden structures in Japan, and has continued to evolve with societal and technological changes up through the present.

JA+U : Tectonic Visions Between Land & Sea: Works of Kiyonori Kikutake Exhibition at the Harvard Graduate School of Design Curated by Ken Tadashi Oshima © Justin Knight

Photography courtesy of Justin Knight

As Kikutake’s first solo North American exhibition, the GSD display reexamines this seminal architect’s work in both its historical context and implications for the future within the context of a design school. 

JA+U : Izumo Administration Building by Kiyonori Kikutake © Shinkenchiku-sha

Izumo Administration Building by Kiyonori Kikutake © Shinkenchiku-sha

The exhibition will highlight the great scope of his work from the residential scale of the Sky House, public scale of the Izumo Administration Building (1963, 1980) and Hotel Tōkōen (1964), to the urban scale of his ongoing Marine City project spanning from the late 1950s to the present.

JA+U : Tectonic Visions Between Land & Sea: Works of Kiyonori Kikutake Exhibition at the Harvard Graduate School of Design Curated by Ken Tadashi Oshima © Justin Knight

Photography courtesy of Justin Knight

The display features original drawings, models, photographs and films that capture its tectonic construction, human-scaled spatial character, and change over time -- most vividly embodied in the Sky House, which literally served as his platform for architectural discourse with architects from Louis Kahn and Peter Smithson up to Koolhaas. Kikutake’s work has been highly influential on subsequent generations—including disciples Toyo Ito, Itsuko Hasegawa, and Hiroshi Naito—and a whole new generation of young architects such that his vision lives on beyond his recent death according to cycles of continued metabolic change.

JA+U : Hotel Tōkōen by Kiyonori Kikutake © Shinkenchiku-sha

Hotel Tōkōen by Kiyonori Kikutake © Shinkenchiku-sha

Shinkenchiku-sha issued a special edition earlier this year to commemorate Mr. Kikutake’s distinguished and influential career. The book covers twelve of the architect’s projects as they were originally featured in the magazine since 1956.

Exhibition Curator, Dr. Ken Tadashi Oshima, was a guest editor of the 500th edition of A+U Magazine.