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Project Japan: Metabolism Talks by Rem Koolhaas and Hans Ulrich Obrist.

A history of Metabolism: avant-garde architecture born out of postwar Tokyo.

Between 2005 and 2011, architect Rem Koolhaas and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist interviewed the surviving members of Metabolism—the first non-Western avant-garde, launched in Tokyo in 1960, in the midst of Japan’s postwar miracle. Project Japan features hundreds of never-before-seen images—master plans from Manchuria to Tokyo, intimate snapshots of the Metabolists at work and play, architectural models, magazine excerpts, and astonishing sci-fi urban visions—telling the 20th-century history of Japan through its architecture.


From the tabula rasa of a colonized Manchuria in the 1930s, a devastated Japan after the war, and the establishment of Metabolism at the 1960 World Design Conference in Tokyo to the rise of Kisho Kurokawa as the first celebrity architect, the apotheosis of Metabolism at Expo ’70 in Osaka, and its expansion into the Middle East and Africa in the 1970s: The result is a vivid documentary of the last moment when architecture was a public rather than a private affair.

  • Oral history by Rem Koolhaas and Hans Ulrich Obrist

  • Extensive interviews with Arata Isozaki, Toshiko Kato, Kiyonori Kikutake, Noboru Kawazoe, Fumihiko Maki, Kisho Kurokawa, Kenji Ekuan, Atsushi Shimokobe, and Takako and Noritaka Tange

  • Hundreds of never-before-seen images, architectural models, and magazine excerpts

  • Layout by award-winning Dutch designer Irma Boom