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Article

Michael Spens

(b Tokyo, June 5, 1937).

Japanese architect, teacher and writer. He graduated from Waseda University, Tokyo, in 1960 and obtained his MArch in 1966 and DEng in 1971. He began teaching architecture at Shibaura Institute of Technology in 1962, becoming a lecturer in engineering there in 1966 and subsequently assistant professor (1973) and professor (1976). In 1967 he opened his own office in Tokyo. A founding member of the counter-Metabolist group Architext (1971), Aida was one of the New Wave of avant-garde Japanese architects, expressing his theories in both buildings and writings. His journal articles clearly state his desire to question—if not overthrow—orthodox Modernist ideas of rationality, order and suitability of form to function. He likened architectural design to an intellectual game, and he was one of the first to equate deconstruction with the art of construction, for example in his Artist’s House (1967), Kunitachi, Tokyo, in which all the elements have arbitrary relationships with each other. In other buildings he focused on the creation of architectural experiences that reflect immediate events. In the Nirvana House (...

Article

Ramón Vargas

(b Mexico City, Mar 29, 1915; d Mexico City, May 25, 1959).

Mexican architect, theorist, and writer, of Japanese descent. The son of a Japanese ambassador in Mexico, he studied philosophy, espousing neo-Kantianism and becoming politically a socialist. He became a supporter of Functionalism, with its emphasis on the social applications of architecture, and was a founder, with Enrique Yañez, of the Unión de Arquitectos Socialistas (1938), helping to draw up a socialist theory of architecture. He was one of the most active participants in the Unión and attempted to put his socialist theory into practice on two unexecuted projects in the same year: the building for the Confederación de Trabajadores de México and the Ciudad Obrera de México, both with Enrique Guerrero and Raúl Cacho. Later, when Mexico opted for a developmental policy, Arai became a standard-bearer for nationalism in architecture. He re-evaluated traditional building materials, such as tree trunks, bamboo, palm leaves, and lianas, using them in a plan for a country house that was adapted to the warm, damp climate of the Papaloapan region. The building of the Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico City, gave him his greatest architectural opportunity when he designed the Frontones (...

Article

Toshiaki Nagaya

(b Tokyo, July 7, 1918).

Japanese architect and writer . He graduated from the University of Tokyo in 1942 and in 1946–7 he worked in the office of Junzō Sakakura in Tokyo. After receiving a master’s degree from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (1953), he worked in the office of Marcel Breuer in New York (1953–6). In 1956 he returned to Japan and opened his own office in Tokyo. One of Ashihara’s principal concerns was the use of logical structural systems to create flexible, integrated space within buildings. He developed the use of split levels or ‘skip’ floors to combine spaces of various sizes, as in the Chūō Koron building (1956), Tokyo, for which he was awarded the Architectural Institute of Japan prize in 1960. The Sony building (1966), Tokyo, was designed as a cubic spiral of skip floors, creating organic spatial continuity throughout the building with spaces that interrelate with each other and with their environment. A similar concept was used for the Japanese pavilion at Expo ’67 in Montreal, for which he received an award from the Ministry of Education. The continuity and flow of space between interior and exterior, and in the spaces between buildings, were also addressed, for example in the Komazawa Olympic Gymnasium (...

Article

Toshiaki Nagaya

(b Osaka, Sept 20, 1933).

Japanese architect and writer . After graduating in 1957 from the School of Architecture, Osaka University, he worked for three years as a designer for the Ministry of Postal Services in Tokyo and Osaka and then joined Junzō Sakakura Architect & Associates (1960–67). He established his own office in Tokyo in 1967. Azuma’s architecture is characterized by the expression of opposing elements such as individuality and collectivity, enclosure and openness, inside and outside etc. For example, his own house, Tower House (1967), Tokyo, expresses the idea of defensive living in the modern urban setting. Standing on a tiny plot of land in the heart of the city, it has a closed concrete exterior with no windows on the street elevation; this, however, is extended outwards to the city by a slanting parapet and overhanging roof-terrace acting as transitional elements between inside and out. Inside is an ingenious sequence of spaces expressing individuality in an area of traditionally designed houses. A prolific architect, Azuma produced designs with simple and clear-cut images: for instance, in the Seijin Nursery School (...

Article

Hiroyuki Suzuki

(b London, Sept 28, 1852; d Tokyo, 1920).

English architect, active in Japan. He was articled to Roger Thomas Smith and then entered the office of William Burges. In 1876 he was awarded the Soane Medallion by the RIBA. In the next year he was appointed the first professor of architecture at the Imperial College of Engineering (now Tokyo University) in Japan, in which role he taught every aspect of architecture and building construction. During this period he was also active as an architect, designing such buildings as the Tokyo Imperial Museum (1877–80; now Tokyo National Museum) and a national banqueting house, Rokumeikan (Deer Cry Pavilion), for the Ministry of Public Works. After leaving his academic and governmental posts, Conder went into private practice and designed many residences, including the Iwasaki residence in Kayacho (1896; see Japan, §III, 5), the Shimazu residence (1915) and the Furukawa residence (1917). His style gradually changed from Gothic to more classical. He is often called the father of Western architecture in Japan, not only on account of his designs but also because of his role in establishing the Western method of architectural higher ...

Article

Ho, Tao  

(b Shanghai, July 17, 1936).

Hong Kong architect, designer, teacher and writer of Chinese birth. After leaving China for Hong Kong in 1949 he received his further education in the USA, where he studied art history at Williams College, Williamstown, MA (1956–60), and subsequently architecture at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, under Sigfried Giedion and Josep Lluís Sert. After receiving his diploma in 1964 he briefly joined various American offices, among them Walter Gropius’s TAC (The Architects Collaborative). After returning to Hong Kong, Ho worked for local architects before setting up his own practice, TAOHO Design, in 1968.

Ho worked in many fields of design, such as interior and graphic design, as well as architecture. His exhibition buildings, which formed the major part of his early career, include the Olivetti Pavilion for the C.M.A. exhibition, Hong Kong, in 1968 and the Hong Kong Government Pavilion for the C.M.A. exhibition, Hong Kong, in ...

Article

Katsuyoshi Arai

(b Gifu Prefect., Jan 6, 1895; d 1983).

Japanese architect and writer. He studied ancient Japanese architecture under Chūta Itō at Tokyo Imperial University; he graduated in 1920 and in that year he founded the Japan Secession Group together with other students from the university including Mamoru Yamada. This was the first movement in support of modern architecture in Japan and its members were greatly influenced by Expressionism. In 1922 he obtained a master’s degree with a study of modern Western architecture and from 1923 to 1924 he travelled in Europe. Many of the works he produced after his return, for instance the Kikkawa House (1930) and the Wakasa House (1940), both in Tokyo, are statements of Rationalist architecture: white cubic designs accentuated by the horizontal lines of the eaves, they reflected his position at the leading edge of architectural theory in Japan. During this period he also taught at the Imperial Art Institute in Tokyo (...

Article

Kazuhiko Namba

(b Pusan, South Korea, April 8, 1920; d Tokyo, Feb 9, 1979).

Japanese architect, teacher and writer. He graduated in architecture from the University of Tokyo (1944) and from 1944 to 1946 he worked in the office of Junzō Sakakura. He was then appointed as a lecturer in architecture at the University of Tokyo, became a professor and continued to teach there until his death. One of Ikebe’s principal interests was industrialization and modular coordination in building, particularly in housing. Influenced by Le Corbusier’s ‘Le Modulor’, he developed a new modular system, ‘GM module’, based on the number two. Another prime interest was housing design; he designed about 100 private houses but no large-scale housing complexes because he believed the Japanese building industry was not yet sufficiently well organized to produce good-quality work at that scale. Examples of his residential designs include a series of experimental minimalist houses (1950) in which he explored the standardization of form and space. He also designed the Kagoshima Space Centre (...

Article

Hiroshi Watanabe

(b Okayama Prefect., April 1, 1944).

Japanese architect and writer. He graduated from Waseda University, Tokyo, in 1966 and completed a graduate course there in 1968, the same year in which he established the office DAM DAN in Tokyo. Through a wide range of activities, of which design was only a part, Ishiyama became a spokesman for the New Wave architects in Japan who turned away from Metabolism and historicism to re-create a sense of place in architecture. An admirer of Buckminster Fuller, Ishiyama also attempted, though not always successfully, to provide general solutions, producing an indeterminate architecture that allowed users maximum freedom within. Inspired by a house in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, constructed in 1962 by Kenji Kawai, an engineer for the early buildings of Kenzō Tange, Ishiyama designed a series of houses of corrugated steel sheets, the best-known of which is the Gen’an (Fantasy Villa) in Aichi Prefecture (1975). These simple houses required only the cheapest of materials and a low standard of construction skills, symbolizing the architect’s commitment to making housing easily available to the public. This was a cause he also supported through writing popular books on architecture and initiating a system called ‘direct dealing’ that recalled, in its intent to bypass the conventional commercial network, the ...

Article

Kenneth Frampton

(b Oita, July 23, 1931).

Japanese architect, teacher and theorist. One of the leading architects of his generation, he became an influential proponent of the avant-garde conceptual approach to architecture that characterized the New Wave in Japan in the 1970s and after (see Japan, §III, 5, (iii), (b)). He studied at the University of Tokyo under Kenzō Tange and after graduating (1954) he worked for Kenzō Tange & Urtec until 1963. From 1960 Isozaki began to develop his own practice, first as an architectural designer, completing the Ōita Medical Center (1960) and Ōita Prefectural Library (1966), and then as a theorist, loosely associated with Japanese Metabolism and creating such ironic projects as his ‘Ruin Future City’ and ‘Clusters in the Air’ (both 1962). His first large public commission was the Ōita branch of the Fukuoka Mutual Bank, completed in 1967. Other important public works followed in relatively rapid succession, and he quickly established his reputation with such buildings as the ...

Article

Alberto González Pozo

(b Harbin, Manchuria [now China], May 3, 1910; d Mexico City, Oct 7, 1996).

Mexican architect, teacher and writer, of Russian descent. In 1926 he settled in Paris, where between 1929 and 1935 he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Georges Gromort. He moved to Mexico in 1942, where he combined editorial work on the periodical Arquitectura México, run by Mario Pani, with his first commissions in Mexico City, among them the ‘Albert Einstein’ Secondary School (1949), with walls of exposed brick. Other examples of his educational architecture, notable for their formal austerity, include the Liceo Franco-Mexicano (1950) and the Facultad de Economía (1953; with J. Hanhausen), Ciudad Universitaria, both in Mexico City. From the 1950s to the 1970s Kaspé continued building in Mexico City; outstanding examples of his work are the Centro Deportivo Israelita (1950–62), Periférico Norte; the Laboratorios Roussel (1961), Avenida Universidad y M. A. Quevedo; and the offices of Supermercados S. A. (...

Article

Botond Bognar

(b Nagoya, April 8, 1934; d Tokyo, Oct 12, 2007).

Japanese architect and writer. He graduated in architecture from Kyoto University in 1957 and continued his studies in the PhD programme at Tokyo University under Kenzō Tange until 1964. They collaborated on numerous urban proposals, including Tange’s famous urban plan for Tokyo Bay (1960). Kurokawa also developed his own futuristic schemes, for example Space City (1960) and Helix City (1961). In 1962 he established his own office in Tokyo. Kurokawa was a founder-member of Metabolism in 1960 and contributed significantly to the Metabolist manifesto. He proved to be the most radical designer of the movement, promoting an architecture that used technologically advanced plug-in modules and clip-on capsule units suspended from a frame, which he felt would accommodate and represent elements of growth and change, a concept that underlined Metabolist theory. The use of capsules appeared in such works as the buildings he designed for the World Exposition (...

Article

Hasan-Uddin Khan

(b Hong Kong, July 19, 1932).

Singaporean architect, urban planner and writer. He studied at the Architectural Association School, London, graduating in 1955; he worked for the London County Council for a year and then was a Fulbright Fellow in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (1956–7). After 1957 he worked exclusively in Singapore and Malaysia as partner in a number of practices, and as principal of Design Partnership (DP). Working in a modernist style, he concentrated on residential and commerical works within an urban or historic framework, with a particular interest in the improvement of the urban environment. He built several large-scale shopping complexes in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, the first being the People’s Park (1973; with Tay Kheng Soon), Singapore; this multi-level centre, with innovative atrium spaces and a mix of large and small shops, became a model for much subsequent commercial development in the city. Other important projects in Singapore included the Golden Mile Shopping Centre (...

Article

Jacqueline E. Kestenbaum

(b Tokyo, Sept 16, 1928).

Japanese architect, teacher, urban planner and writer. He studied with Kenzō Tange at the University of Tokyo (BArch, 1952), and then studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI (MArch, 1953), and at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (MArch, 1954). From 1954 to 1956 he worked for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in New York and Sert, Jackson & Associates in Cambridge, MA; he then taught at Washington University, St Louis (1956–62), and at Harvard (1962–5). In 1965 he returned to Tokyo and opened his own office. Maki’s background enabled him to synthesize a comprehensive understanding of Western architecture with a Japanese sensitivity to scale and detail. He made his architectural debut as an urban planner and founder-member of the Metabolist group in 1960. While he remained a convinced modernist in his use of new technology, modular planning and standardized construction, he was also interested in a contextual approach to design. One of his principal ideas, developed with ...

Article

Kenneth Frampton

(b Shizuoka, April 2, 1925 d Kawasaki, July 15, 2006).

Japanese architect, teacher and writer. He studied mathematics before enrolling in architecture at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (B. Eng. 1953; D. Eng. 1967). He then opened his own office in Tokyo and also began a long teaching career at the Institute of Technology, becoming a full professor in 1970. He was thus first and foremost an intellectual before becoming by degrees an architect of international stature through the realization of some 30 houses between 1958 and 1978. Generally regarded as an ‘architect’s architect’, Shinohara was content in his early work to ring the changes on reductively modernized versions of the traditional Japanese house. This changed, however, with his so-called House with a Big Roof (1961), Tokyo. Thereafter his houses tended to be identified not by the place where they were built but by the single-minded image that was the basis of their design. He subsequently produced eccentric works with earthen floors (e.g. at Karuizawa, ...

Article

Yanfei Zhu

(b Urumqi, Nov 4, 1963).

Chinese architect and teacher. Wang Shu was born in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and studied at the Nanjing Institute of Technology (now Southeast University) in Jiangsu Province, receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture in 1985 and 1988 respectively. He earned his Ph.D. degree at the School of Architecture of Tongji University in Shanghai in 2000. Wang became a faculty member of the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou in 2000, and was named chair of the Architecture Department in 2003 and dean of the School of Architecture in 2007. In 2011 he was the Kenzo Tange Visiting Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

His first architectural commission, completed in 1990, was a youth centre in Haining, a small city near Hangzhou. In 1997 Wang and his architect wife, Lu Wenyu, established the Amateur Architecture Studio in Hangzhou. The name of the firm suggested the couples’ non-professional approach based on everyday life, spontaneity, and experimentation. Both of them received relatively liberal educations in post-Mao China, and belonged to the generation of architects who advocated tectonic modernism combined with regionalism. Some of the built works designed by Wang and the firm are the Library of Wenzheng College at Suzhou University (...

Article

Hajime Yatsuka

(b Ebetsu, Hokkaido, April 28, 1935).

Japanese architect and writer. He was a student of the architect Takamasa Yoshizaka at Waseda University, Tokyo, graduating in 1959, and he established his own office in 1964. In 1971 he formed the avant-garde group Architext with four other architects; they all continued to work independently, however, with no common design philosophy. Suzuki’s work is characterized by an innovative use of raw concrete, revealing the influence of Yoshizaka. Ultimately, although he did not work in the Brutalist style, he succeeded in developing an individual style with a combination of simple geometries (especially rectilinear) and finely finished concrete surfaces. He also incorporated traditional features such as eaves and open spaces, together with modern elements such as skylights and voids. Suzuki concentrated on residential work and produced buildings that represent some of the most successful solutions to the problems of living in modern Japanese cities. In this respect he is followed by Tadao Andō. Important works include the Shishido House (...

Article

Botond Bognar

(b Sapporo, Hokkaido, March 15, 1934).

Japanese architect, writer and teacher. He graduated from Waseda University, Tokyo, in 1958 and continued his studies as a Fulbright scholar (1959–60) at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. He then worked for Josep Lluís Sert in Cambridge, MA (1960–61); for Harrison & Abramovitz in New York (1961–2); and for Jørn Utzon, Arne Jacobsen and Henning Larsen in Copenhagen, Denmark (1962–4). On his return to Japan he established his own office, Minoru Takeyama and the United Actions, in Tokyo in 1965, opening a second office in Sapporo in 1975. One of the New Wave of avant-garde Japanese architects and one of the early representatives of Post-modernism in Japan, Takeyama was interested in semiotics and the language of architecture. In 1971, with Takefumi Aida, Takamitsu Azuma, Mayumi Miyawaki and Makoto Suzuki, he formed the counter-Metabolist group Architext. His first significant buildings were Ichiban-kan (‘Number One Building’; ...

Article

Hiroshi Watanabe

(b Osaka, Sept 4, 1913; d Tokyo, March 22, 2005).

Japanese architect, urban planner and writer. He graduated in architecture from the University of Tokyo (1938) and worked briefly for Kunio Maekawa. From 1946 to 1974 he taught at the university, becoming professor emeritus after 1974; he also received a PhD there in 1959. Many Japanese architects who later gained prominence, such as Arata Isozaki, Kishō Kurokawa and Fumihiko Maki, were once members of his university studio, the centre of his design activities until 1961 when he established the office Kenzō Tange & Urtec, Urbanists and Architects, in Tokyo. Tange was perhaps the most important architect in Japan during the 1950s and 1960s, times of national unity and established social agenda with which his heroic vision and hierarchical, structured architecture were in tune. His career was marked by early success with winning entries for competitions to design a memorial to the creation of the Great East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere (...

Article

Hajime Yatsuka

(b Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefect., July 24, 1904; d Tokyo, Feb 2, 1979).

Japanese architect and writer. He graduated from the architecture department of Tokyo Imperial University in 1928 and established his own office in Tokyo in 1930. He began his career as an avant-garde designer. His first work, the Hydraulics Laboratory (1932) at Tokyo Institute of Technology, was a radically functionalist building, regarded as one of the first Constructivist works in Japan. He also criticized Le Corbusier in 1930 for élitism and a lack of practical concern. However, the Hydraulics Laboratory and other modernist works of this period such as the Keio Kindergarten (1937), Tokyo, reveal a classical sense of order in their composition, and, during his visit to Germany in 1938, he was most impressed by the Neo-classical works of Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Heinrich Tessenow.

After his return to Japan, he adopted a style quite different from his earlier modernism: buildings designed for Keio University, Tokyo, after World War II, for example the Department of Medicine (...