Samurai #4: Kisho Kurokawa

(2 votes)

Article by Anthony Al-Jamie (continued)

KISHO Kurokawa was born the son of an architect in Aichi, Japan. During WWII he was sent to live with his grandparents in a Buddhist temple. He bunked in a teahouse there that later served as an inspiration for his creative works.

Kurokawa studied architecture at the prestigious Kyoto University, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1957. He continued his studies in graduate school at the University of Tokyo, studying under the mentorship and supervision of renowned Japanese architect Kenzo Tange.

He was the youngest and one of the most influential co-founders of the “Metabolism Movement.” The metabolists argued that buildings could be designed as adaptable organisms with a flexible framework comprised of replaceable parts. Kurokawa and his fellow metabolists were showcased at the Osaka World Expo in 1970. In 1972 Kurokawa built the Nakagin Capsule Tower that encapsulated these insights through the use of replaceable apartment modules.

Kurokawa later incorporated into his theories the philosophy of symbiosis, in which two antagonistic elements come together to co-exist harmoniously. For example, the art and science of architecture come together to produce an aesthetically pleasing yet structurally sound building. His philosophy of symbiosis meant that his work had to co-exist with nature. Kurokawa’s efforts to create sustainable and eco-minded architecture have resulted in some of the most leading-edge structures in the world, including the master plans of Kazakhstan’s Capital City and China’s Zhengzhou New Town, as well as the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, which has won awards for its sustainability.

Kurokawa’s influence went far beyond architecture. Among Kurokawa’s acquaintances were royalty, prime ministers, presidents and national leaders from around the world.

Kisho Kurokawa was selected as Samurai #4 based on:
»»his ability to successfully compete with architects the world over on major architectural projects
»»his ability to contribute at the highest level to numerous fields including art, science, education and philosophy
»»his exceptional international relations skills that led to relationships with many of the world’s most influential individuals
»»his extraordinary Japanese, English and French language skills that allowed him to communicate and share information with individuals around the world

Two of Japan’s leading architects had the following to say about Kurokawa:

Toyo Ito: “Kisho Kurokawa, with his multiple talents, was too good to be just an architect in his lifetime. With his clear intellect and quick-witted mind he could always grasp the temperament of the era quicker than everyone else.”

Tadao Ando: – Photos courtesy of Tadao Ando Architect & Associates“I first became aware about Kisho Kurokawa when I had started pursuing the path of architecture in the 1960s, during the midst of the Metabolism Movement that had been initiated at the World Design Conference. I was fascinated by their series of urban projects such as the “Agricultural City” (1960) and was literally exposed to “the future” at the Expo ’70 pavilions in Osaka. In a rejection of the notion of an eternal, imperishable architecture and a criticism of the static functionalism of modern architecture, they imagined architecture and cities that could be transformed dynamically. Among them, Kisho Kurokawa was the one who most boldly developed the concept of “metabolism” and materialized his ideas as architecture.

“Surely nobody would disagree to the fact that the brilliance of Kurokawa’s work lay in its power to integrate concept, form, and structure with astonishing clarity. What was even greater than his conceptual and formmaking abilities, however, was his unique magnificent outlook on the universe and his world-view that stood behind his architecture. He also had a rare talent for communicating his ideas to society. From when he was the prodigy Metabolist that led the contemporary architectural world, to when he strove to enter into the political world in his late years, the stance he held as he pushed forth into the future with his ideals was beautiful and dignified.

“Without doubt, only one with the rare genius of Kisho Kurokawa could possibly live such a life and it cannot be imitated by just anybody. Everybody living in the world of architecture in his wake, however, should hold within their hearts his passion and ambition to literally create “the world of the future” through architecture, and be reminded of the great possibility and honor bestowed in the profession of the architect.” tj

川紀章は愛知県で建築家の息子として 生まれた。戦争中に疎開していた祖父 母の家で茶室に寝ていたことが、のち に創造性あふれる作品のひらめきをもたらすこ とになった。

1957 年に京都大学建築学科で学位を取得した のち、東京大学大学院に進み、著名な建築家 丹下健三の下で学んだ。

黒川は、建築の理論運動メタボリズムのメン バーの中で最も若く、影響力を持っていた。 建物は交換可能なパーツで構成される柔軟な 枠組みを持つ有機体としてデザインできると
主張する同理論グループは、1970 年の大阪 万博で実験的プロジェクトを実現した。1972 年、黒川は中銀カプセルタワービルに取り組 み、交換可能なパーツを用いてその構想を具 現化した。

後年、建築理論に取り入れた「共生」の思想 では、2 つの対立する要素が一体化し調和的 に共存することを提唱した(たとえば、建築 の芸術と科学が一体化して、美的感覚に訴え
る一方で構造的に安定した建物が生まれる)。 共生の思想は、彼の作品が自然と共存しなけ ればならないことを意味しており、持続可能 で環境に優しい建築を追及する姿勢が、世界 でも最先端の建築を生むこととなった。代表 作として、カザフスタン新首都、中国河南省 鄭州・鄭東新区に加え、持続可能性について 受賞実績のあるクアラルンプール新国際空港 などが挙げられる。

黒川の影響は建築の領域にとどまらない。世界 のロイヤルファミリーや首相、大統領、指導者 らとの親交でも知られる。

黒川紀章を侍 ナンバー4 に選んだ理由:
»»»巨大建築プロジェクトで世界の建築家と互 角に戦える能力
»»芸術、科学、教育、哲学など多くの領域で、 最高レベルの貢献ができる能力
»»»世界中の多くの要人と交友関係を築くこと のできる類まれな才能
»»世界の人々と意見を交換し情報を共有でき る日本語、英語、フランス語の能力

日本の2 人の一流建築家は、黒川紀章について 以下のように述べている。

伊東豊雄:「黒川紀章は生涯建築家で終わらせ るには勿体ない程の才能の持ち主だった。才気 煥発、きわめて明晰な頭脳によって時代の空気 を読み取る速さは抜群であった・・・」

– Photos courtesy of Tadao Ando Architect & Associates伊東豊雄:「私が黒川紀章の存在を知ったのは、 私が建築の道を歩みだした1960 年代、世界 デザイン会議に始まるメタボリズム・ムーブ メントの中でのことだ。まず「農村都市計画 1960」をはじめとした一連の都市プロジェク トに目を奪われ、1970 年の大阪万博でのパビ リオンに、文字通りの<未来>を感じた。永遠 不滅の建築を否定し、近代建築のスタティック な機能主義を批判し、ダイナミックに変化する 建築と都市――その<新陳代謝>という概念 を最も大胆に展開し、建築として具現化したの が黒川紀章だった。

黒川作品の凄さが、概念と形、構造とが驚く べき明晰さをもって統合されている、その力 強さにあることに異論を持つ人はいないだろ う。だが、そうした構想力、造形力以上に、 黒川紀章が偉大であったのは、その建築の背 後に彼特有の一つの壮大な宇宙観、世界思想 を持ち、またそれを社会に発信する稀有の能 力に長けていたことである。異才のメタボリ ストとして現代建築界を牽引したときから、 ついに政治の世界へと進出しようとした晩年 に至るまで――新しい未来を切り開くべく、 理想を掲げてひた奔るその姿は美しく、気高 かった。

無論その生き方は、黒川紀章という稀有の才能 があったからこそ可能であったのであり、誰に も真似のできるものではない。だが、その後を おって建築の世界に生きるものは、文字通り建 築を通じて<世界の未来>を創ろうとした、そ の情熱と志は心に留めておくべきだろう。建築 家とはこれほど、可能性に満ちた、誇り高い職 業なのだと」tj


Samurai #7: Ichiro Suzuki
Samurai #6: Seiji Ozawa

Samurai #5: Osamu Tezuka

Samurai #4: Kisho Kurokawa
Samurai #3: Soichiro Honda

Samurai #2: Akira Kurosawa

Samurai #1: Akio Morita

Written By:

Anthony Al-Jamie

Anthony Al-Jamie lived and worked in Japan for over 20 years. His in-depth understanding of Japanese language and culture has allowed him to carry out interviews with many of the most renowned individuals in Japan. He first began writing for the Tokyo Journal in the 1990s as Education Editor, later he was promoted to Senior Editor, and eventually International Editor and Executive Editor. He currently serves the Tokyo Journal as Editor-in-Chief.


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