Follow the Ladder!

“The discovery of new ways for ‘things to be’ gradually evolves into a study of the relationships among things and among people and things. This is the starting point for a discovery of spaces.”


Until the 1960s, urban planning as a design practice was hardly discussed in Japan. Architectural journals mostly presented individual buildings, primarily residential, then also public buildings. The descriptions are always technical and factual, dealing with questions of construction and expression. In November 1961, departing from convention, the journal Kenchika Bunka devoted an issue to urban planning for the first time, drawing on international case studies. It was only shortly after the proclamation of the Metabolism Manifesto by Kenzo Tange (1913–2005), Kiyonori Kikutake (1928–2011), Kisho Kurokawa (1934–2007) and others that the city as a system was discussed for the first time. As a background to these developments was Tokyo’s 1958 bid for the 1964 Summer Olympics; in the issue, the approach to the subject of urban planning still appears technical, didactic, and far removed from the realities Japan was experiencing at the time.

The 1961 special issue was followed two years later, in December 1963,A by another on the topic of “Japanese urban space“. Its aim was different, establishing a completely new paradigm. It is not difficult to imagine Kazuo Shinohara as a young architect, carefully reading its articles and quietly drawing up his own avenues of research, which would occupy him for the forty years that followed.

Shinohara's urban turn

The issue was edited by the architectural historian and critic Teiji Itō (1922–2010), among others. Itō worked with the architectural photographer Yukio Futagawa (1932–2013) in the late 1950s and together they published the magazine series Nihon no MinkaThe Japanese Minka [farmhouse],1 which was influential in Japan and the West. Itō was also one of the few Japanese architects who acted as a mediator of Japanese culture in the West. For a period, he served as a visiting professor at the University of Washington in Seattle; a role that certainly earned him a great deal of prestige in Japan.

The special issue of Kenchika Bunka on the city begins with a Metabolism-orientated introduction and overview of the topic, followed by a series of clearly delineated chapters. The first three in particular, with their titles “Principles of Space Order“, “Method of Space Composition“ and “Affector in Urban Space“, are a wide-ranging description of various urban phenomena – and thus appear to be the opposite of both the Metabolist view of the introduction and the usual technocratic approach. The chapter names could also be the titles of essays written by Shinohara. The phenomenological approach is reinforced by the choice of images. Many lively street scenes are shown, some photographed from a few old neighbourhoods or villages still preserved after the Second World War. The photos are accompanied by reproductions of painted screens, scrolls or wooden prints. It can be no coincidence that, from around this time, Shinohara, as a newly appointed assistant professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (TIT, now Tokyo Tech), began his research on old post stations along the five imperial routes (so-called “post towns“, Shukuba-eki), which he published from 1966 on.

The phenomenological and morphological view of the Japanese city has changed architecture more than urban planning. The latter remained largely beyond the control of architects and was left to the forces of capital and administration, which planned and optimised the city more in terms of fire protection, infrastructure, and tax collection. And so, it seems almost logical that urban phenomena were internalised by architecture. One example of typical traditional urban spaces that were adopted as motifs is the often narrow alleyway, known as rōji. Transformed into “urban“ interiors, they are first found in the work of Hiroshi Hara (1967, Ito House), Shinohara, and later also in the work of Takamitsu Azuma, Kazunari Sakamoto, Toyō Itō and others.2

Shinohara’s “urban turn“ took place around 1968 with the South House in Hanayama, in which a rōji and gap-like space of movement connects important areas in the house. This project led to Shinohara’s “Second Style“, with houses whose style-defining spatial dramaturgy moves dialectically between dramatic-vertical movement “fissure“ spaces and chambered, quiet living spaces. Shinohara’s original motivation towards city-like spaces is still unclear.

In a 1975 conversation between Shinohara and his friend, the philosopher, amateur photographer, and publicist Kōji Taki (1928–2011) about the significance of the city in his own designs, the architect refuses to give an answer. The interview is nevertheless revealing, as Taki does the interpretative work: he speaks of a “feeling of town“ or “image of the city“, an “original landscape of humanity“, and he concludes that “the city in the metaphysical sense [...] becomes visible in [Shinohara’s] residences“.3

It is interesting to note that Shinohara spoke in detail about the city, aesthetically and analytically, before this interview and, in connection with the Tanikawa House, even spoke generally of the street as a “transversal cross-section“ through a city, but neither in the corresponding essay nor in the interview does he wish to transfer such a phenomenon directly to his designs.4 From a Western perspective, the conversation between Taki and Shinohara seems like two protagonists almost bizarrely talking past one another. With hindsight, knowing Shinohara’s later theory, the dialogue now seems like the opening of a game of chess, a tactical approach to a possible new theoretical position. Shortly after the interview appeared, Shinohara presented the House in Uehara, a design whose interior he himself characterises as an urban jungle.5

Fragmentary space and the Zero Person

The House in Uehara can be seen as an anticipation of Shinohara’s “Fourth Style“, in which the vitality and chaos of Tokyo become the overarching design theme. The prelude is provided by his own small House in Yokohama in 1985, which was built around the same time as the much larger and widely received project for the “Centennial Hall“ of the Tokyo Institute of Technology (1987), which was conceived as an exhibition and conference building after the university’s centenary in 1981.

Shinohara sees Centennial Hall as an “architectural machine“, which establishes a “dialogue between the campus and the city“. This is achieved by means of a “floating“, curved half-cylinder above a “cube“, whose curved longitudinal axis mediates “in a random way“ between the open space of the campus and the nearby Ōkayama metro station. The parts of the building are put together as “fragmented spatial elements“ to form a “bundle of relationships“ that creates “random noise“: a “typical Tokyo cityscape“.6

Here, it is less the urban planning response and overall composition of Centennial Hall that is of interest than a detail that has gone completely unnoticed until now. Ultimately, the gestural “decoupling“ of the half-cylinder, cube, and other elements can be read as a metaphor for the metropolis of Tokyo at the time.

Upon entering the building, however, visitors first encounter a foyer whose inconsistent spatial effect makes it difficult to immediately grasp. Above a confusingly trapezoidal floor plan, diagonal lines rise at the transitions between transparent and closed spatial boundaries, destabilising the visitor’s perception. The space only becomes comprehensible through movement; it is structured by the round staircase core and two free-standing, slender pillars. An impressive ventilation machine and gangways for maintenance and lighting and other technology hover above the visitors.

The two aluminium-clad pillars have a lot going for them – or rather “around them“: between all the technological devices, they are reminiscent of the free-standing posts for electricity and telecommunications that are ubiquitous in Tokyo and other Asian metropolises. The scenery of the posts in a tangle of wires and cables is something the visitor will have just wandered through on their way through the city. The public interior of Centennial Hall thus becomes an urban space; visitors traverse an intensified urban. In addition, the posts are reminiscent of the two pillars in Tanikawa House.

The urban landscape of Tokyo is mirrored in the interior space; the content of this second part of the essay thus also ties in with the first. Elsewhere, Shinohara describes the “mechanism“ of his design in a strikingly similar “topological“ way to how Teiji Itō and his co-editors described the city views of Rakuchū rakugai in the aforementioned 1963 edition of Kenchiku bunka. Shinohara:

"Between [...] discrete parts, and in between the parts and the whole, [arises] a multifarious bundle of random relationships. There [is] no meaning of coherence attributed beforehand – no commemorative monumentality. But, instead, unanticipated, and diverse meanings – emerging between people and the overall space – [are] facilitated."7

Emerging between people and the overall space: This is architecture. Its space is an entity of fundamentally aesthetic experience and, due to its fragmentation and associated depth effect, has a particularly – if you’ll pardon this tautology – spatial, and above all, in a phenomenal sense, appellative effect: the individual architectural elements “move“ parallactically with the moving person, begin to “speak“, become performers. As in Cézanne’s landscape paintings, there are no perceptibly parallel lines here, no vanishing points to which the eye can adhere, and which privilege a certain point of view. Viewers move between things, in a manner resembling Cézanne’s gaze. The function of the foyer thus recedes, the experience of time comes to the fore: in this building Shinohara succeeded in realising the “modern whole” of space, time [and] architecture as postulated by Sigfried Giedion.

The American philosopher Graham Harman describes such a cancellation of function in the intertwined act of movement and seeing as “zeroing out”, as a third way between phenomenal perception and objective description. And in a recent book on philosophy and architecture, he also provides a catchy definition of the term that cancels out Shinohara’s postulated opposition between first and third person: Namely, the “Zero Person”:

"After all, what is in question here, is not anyone’s accidental first-person experience of walking through the various parts of a building over the course of an hour or two, but an ideal sense in which the parts of a building are essentially spread out in time no less than in space."8

Shinohara could have formulated it in the same way. What’s more, in a remarkable sentence, Harman even links his concept of the Zero Person with Paul Cézanne’s mode of perception – and thus gets to the heart of what must have been on Shinohara’s mind. Harman’s characterisation of perception in architectural space also explains why the trace of the ladder laid by Shinohara in Tanikawa House must necessarily lead to the elevated perspective of Rakuchū rakugai’s depictions of the city:

"[T]he temporal experience of architecture is in fact “the house seen from everywhere“ though substantialised or zeroed into an object that is something different from the house itself. It seems to give us the impossible: a God’s-eye view of the total being of a building."9

In the Japanese context, an analogy suggests itself: the Zero Person could also embody the Zen Buddhist ideal of “seeing with the heart“.10 Via the diversions of contemporary philosophy, we can thus encounter an essential core of Japanese aesthetics. It can be characterised, among other things, by the principle of Miegakure, which can be roughly translated as “visibility and invisibility“ or “appearance and disappearance“.11 The latter corresponds to the effect created by movement on the ground floor of Centennial Hall.

Nowhere does Miegakure reveal itself more clearly than in the garden art of the Far East: movement along a predetermined path gradually reveals things, but never completely, always in a play of foreground and background. This experience is genuinely linked to movement, and it is genuinely spatial – again similar to the experience of three-dimensionality in Cézanne’s paintings or the urban context in Rackuchū rakugai.

In the latter, it is precisely the clouds that create a zeroing out: an artful interruption of the overall context: “To ‘zero’ something means to subtract it from its relations.“12 Rackuchū rakugai thus actually appears as a paradox: the overall context of “Kyōto and its suburbs“ is wilfully broken up, only to create a new, “empty“ overall context “with the heart“, in the sense of Zen Buddhism.

In Centennial HallA, such effects are created both by the repeated sections of the underside of the half-cylinder and the outer staircase; by the canopy and the surrounding buildings, as well as by the reminiscent city as a whole, whose infrastructural background appears in the building as a technical fragment.13 Even more: if you look down from the mezzanine above the foyer through the horizontally braced structure, the gangways and the ventilation ducts, this could also be the view through the clouds of Rackuchū rakugai. The events “down in the city“ are repeatedly obscured and thus also appear immediately fragmented in one’s perception – things are decoupled from one another, their meaningful relationships are visually detached, aestheticised, “subtracted“. The gaze that sees here becomes a Zero Person.

Africa

The hyperbole between Cézanne and his own work, which the trained mathematician Shinohara himself hinted at with the ladder in Tanikawa House and multiplied in this essay, gains maximum momentum where the two positions converge in the concept of the “primitive“. In the spirit of an African reception of art, Cézanne described himself as a “primitive“ artist.14 Shinohara echoes this self-attribution when he links his experiences of travelling through Africa in the mid-1970s to his own “Third Style“ and his essay “Savage Space Machine” from 1979.15 Although the title of Claude Lévi-Strauss’s book, The Savage Mind16, which probably gave Shinohara his title, was not translated into Japanese until 1976, it can be assumed that Shinohara had already become familiar with the attribute “savage“ via Kōji Taki: the themes of “jungle“ and “savagery“ had emerged in House in Uehara shortly beforehand. Presumably several research trips to Africa had been planned since 1972, most likely also related to Lévi-Strauss’ work; in autumn 1975, however, the architect brought little of use back to Japan in this regard.17 But the distant search was not unsuccessful – on the contrary: in the 1977 article “The Third Style”, Shinohara describes an epiphany:

"Then about ten metres below, I see a writhing black mass. Inadvertently, I had come upon some ten young men bathing. [...] Black bodies, the solid curvature of black hands, feet, heads and groins seemed to move in waves, as sheets of falling water tangled against this blackness. Just beyond the concrete wall of the uncovered shower area lay the Gold Coast. The most deeply characteristic of African spaces may never be an actual building or a streetscape [...]. Instead, it comprises the inhabitants themselves."18

For him, this “African space“ remained an inspiration to the end. It is to be understood as a physically tangible composite of human bodies, landscape and artefacts – as the space that Shinohara calls “Street With Human Shadows” in his last essay published in English in 2004.19 The text is the transcript of a lecture that the architect gave on the occasion of the monographic exhibition of the same name in Kitakyūshū; on display were images from his travels all over the world, which, almost without exception, show lively street scenes.

Shinohara’s view through the camera is both telescopic and intimate; all the images seem to explore or suggest a kind of connection between the figures of “human shadows“ and the spaces surrounding them. They seem as if the people depicted have just “produced“ their environment in a biological sense or have emerged from it as if after pupation. A difference in meaning between human actors as foreground and architecture as background cannot be discerned in the sheer ordinariness of these scenes. Everything appears on the same level of hierarchy – not unlike the Japanese or Chinese garden mentioned above: buildings and people appear as a result of movement, reveal something of themselves, are displaced against other things, and disappear from the field of vision. 

In his final text, Shinohara condenses this unprejudiced, distanced and at the same time committed view into an image that can now also be understood as a lucid transfer of the space of Rakuchū rakugai into the 20th century:

"The year was 1972, on the approach to Heathrow airport on an Aeroflot flight via Moscow. Coming into the airport at a low altitude, I glanced out the window and encountered what was probably a residential area of London, with not particularly wide streets filling my sight, trees lining the streets, and a number of people walking. It was my first trip overseas. At that moment I took away a marvellous scene that’s hard to express in words: This is a town, this is a place people live."20

Through Shinohara’s anthropological and aesthetic gaze, as it were, human activity and the city become one. And with the now explicit shift in meaning from architecture to the city, the dialectic between phenomenal and Cartesian space postulated at the very beginning of the first part of this essay is also cancelled out.

In 1973, one year after his first trip to Africa, Shinohara made a striking stylistic break: the House in Higashi-Tamagawa, with its alley or canyon-like interior, and the House in Seijo, with its tent-like roof, are worlds apart in terms of expression and content. 1973 is also the year in which Shinohara first spoke of “styles“ in relation to his own work, and even if House in Seijo is still categorised by the architect as belonging to his Second Style, it is closer to the philosophical-anthropological designs of his Third Style (which, according to the architect, begins with Tanikawa House).21

In Shinohara’s second style or “anti-style”, the architectural object seems to have been a minimalist, mechanical, “cold” other, an abstract and flat “work of art” that stretches out a space according to its own Euclidean geometric rules, which - although modelled on an urban setting - ultimately appears idealised, alienated, and devoid of people. Beginning with the “Third Style”, with Prism House, Tanikawa House and House in Uehara, and at the latest with Centennial Hall, this space is enlivened by human figures moving between figuratively articulated objects such as columns, beams, and blades of wind. Through such transversal movement, the space is to a certain extent curved, it begins to vibrate, fluctuates, becomes “hot”. From then on, Shinohara's “architectural machine” functions more like an algorithm or an artificial intelligence that becomes more and more like us and the city we live in - even if the geometry remains the constitutive element in the designs

Space as a metaphor for fluctuating systems

At this point, we could usefully make another reference to the aforementioned artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849): His serially produced woodblock prints thrive on a complex combination of simple geometric figures, which, through composition, graphic transformation and colour, discard everything mechanical about the production process.22 It is very possible that Shinohara was familiar with the textbook sketches by HokusaiF mentioned in connection with Paul Cézanne and secretly referred to them when he based the later designs of his Fourth Style on basic geometric forms.

Just as Hokusai’s opposition between compositional and production processes and animated expression disappears, Shinohara’s apodictically constructed opposition between first and third person, between life and architecture, also dissolves after Tanikawa House. Although the latter, as an artistically produced artefact, retains its own geometric “regularity“ or autonomy, it constructs emotional effects for people. And yet Shinohara’s final designs are less like alienated machines than animistic objects made by us, emerging from the city itself. They are like fetish-objects that we might keep close.

Shinohara’s architectural objects are therefore not to be understood as challenging contrasts in the modernist sense, his metaphorization of the city is more eventful than symbolic: They appear in the city without the usual Western distinctions between background and foreground, tradition and progress, nature and culture, or man and machine. Shinohara’s architectural objects are materially and meaningfully embedded in our everyday and phenomenal world – just as we are immersed in it with our bodies.

Kazuo Shinohara’s view of architecture and the city is always first and foremost an aesthetic one; it is both pictorial and performative. Initially it feeds pictorially and later conceptually on borrowings from traditional architecture and art such as Rakuchū rakugai, European painting and contemporary photography; from the Third Style onwards, it follows concepts from philosophy, mathematics, chemistry, and physics. The latter in particular provides decisive impulses: in the mid-1980s, for example, the concept of “chaos“ takes on an explicit meaning through scientific publications, such as those by the Nobel Prize winner for chemistry, Ilya Prigogine. When this text talks about a “fluctuating“ space in connection with Centennial Hall, it also refers to the “emergent“ phenomena that were described and popularised by the chaos theory of the 1980s and 1990s: For example, when fluctuations in non-linear systems stabilise into stable structures – such as in fluid dynamics, in electronic circuits, but also in ecosystems and in the economy.

On the eve of the 21st century, Shinohara thought he recognised such non-linear phenomena in Tokyo too. One example he repeatedly cites is the famous Shibuya intersection, where crowds of people “fluctuate“ between electronic billboards and short-lived architecture, while at the same time embodying a stable metropolitan culture.

Architectural space can therefore also be understood as a non-linear system – “non-linear“ is meant here literally – in it, with it and through it, human actions aggregate and reinforce each other, emerging from a cultural practice and stabilising it at the same time. This also applies to the architectural object; it “emerges“ from the cultural background of the city. The urban space that fluctuates between these objects is soft and blurred, “topological“: it emerges from countless individual perspectives like the “continuous“ and “elastic“ pictorial space of Cézanne, which appears in the eye of the beholder through the virtual movement in a depicted landscape.23 This space is first and third person at the same time: Zero Person.

Cézanne's ladder back in Europe

With this final conclusion, it is worth taking one last look at Rakuchū rakugai from the top of a 21st century ladder, so to speak. The small scenes depicted between the clouds seem as ephemeral as they are eternal, fluctuating in the city while simultaneously static: despite their fixation on the picture medium, in their entirety they create a vibrant liveliness. A liveliness, mind you, of the timeless moment, the “emptiness“ that can still be encountered today and, in reality, between human figures and architectural objects everywhere and, again and again, as one finds in Tokyo. This “Buddhist“ emptiness occurs wherever the aesthetic gaze fluctuates between experienced and objectified – or rather – virtual space.

This tangible emptiness perhaps finally raises the question of the “urbanity“ of Tanikawa House postulated in the first part of this essay – because the residence of the poet Shuntarō Tanikawa stands in a wooded area, far away from the urban location where it was conceived and set out. One possible answer is provided by the ladder in the summer space; after the “urban“ projects of Shinohara’s Second Style, it perhaps enables virtually the “objectified“ or, according to the philosopher Graham Harman, “godlike“ view from above, which conveys an idea of the constantly changing and fluctuating topological space between architectural objects in the city as just described. On the sloping ground, it also shows the moment of uncertainty par excellence that is typical of urban life, perhaps in contrast to the tent-like protective roof above and the adjacent cosy Pioneer Cabin.

The current owner advises against using the ladder, and so it remains purely a figure of thought for the time being. Even if the “church for a pantheist“ can only be understood indirectly as an urban space, the poet’s house is still a very urban spot, best compared to an Edo-period samurai residence where courtly and rural customs meet, or an art location in the countryside, idyllically situated above a wild valley and in the middle of the forest, which is so typical of today’s Japan. In a certain sense, the summer space of Tanikawa House not only abolishes the (Western) contrast between domestic and urban space, but also that between city and nature: Shinohara understood the inclined plane and the space it spans as a mathematical-topological condition for architecture that can always be treated in the same way – be it urban or rural.24

Although the ladder in Tanikawa House cannot be climbed, the interweaving of experience and rapture just described can now be experienced directly, even in Europe and in its essence: namely in Umbrella HouseG, which was moved from Tokyo to the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein in 2022 and marks a similarly important turning point in Kazuo Shinohara’s work as Tanikawa House.25 If you climb up the ladder above the height of the crossed beams that symbolically divide the space, the living room below suddenly appears “as if from an aeroplane window“: under the umbrella-like roof, you are no longer physically immersed, but removed, or even enraptured. Like the structure in Centennial Hall, the beams conceal parts of the scenery below. The path from the phenomenal first person singular to the virtual third person is thus actually extremely short and simple: a Zero Person climbs over just eleven rungs in a theatrical act from the “I“ of his domestic world to the “it“ of the city.

Bibliography:  

  • Bonnin, Philippe, Nishida Masatsugu, Inaga Shigemi, Vocabulaire de la spatialité japonaise, Paris 2012. 
    Dehli, Christian, Grolimund, Andrea (Hg.), Kazuo Shinohara: The Umbrella House Project, Weil am Rhein 2022. 
  • Fala Atelier (Hg.),1961–1992 Japan, Sammlung japanischer Häuser, Porto 2021. 
  • Harman, Graham, Architecture and Objects, Minneapolis 2022. 
  • Itō, Teijii, Yukio Futagawa, Nihon no minka, Tokio 1955. 
  • Kuan. Seng (Hg.): Kazuo Shinohara. Traversing The House and the City, Zürich 2021, S. 229. Original japanisch «ModanNekusuto he no messēji: toshi, kaosu, kassei», in: Kenchiku bunka, Nr. 504 (Oktober 1988), S. 30–39. 
  • Kisa Decor (Hg.), Seminar Series Nr. 1, «Housing and the City: Koji Taki Dialogue Collection, Conversations with four designers», Heft 3, 1975.  
  • Lévi-Strauss, Claude, Das wilde Denken, Frankfurt a.M. 1973; japanisch Yasei no shikō, Tokio 1976. 
  • Massip-Bosch, Enric, Emotion Devices. The Role of Concrete Frame Structures in the Architecture of Kazuo Shinohara, Barcelona 2015.
  • Shinohara, Kazuo, «Ragyō no kūkann no ōdan suru toki», in: Shinkenchiku, Tokyo, Oktober 1975, S. 158–163. Englische Übersetzung: Kazuo Shinohara, «When Naked Space is Traversed», in: JA The Japan Architect, Februar 1976, S. 69. 
  • Shinohara, Kazuo «The Savage Machine as an Exercise», in: The Japan Architect, März 1979. 
  • Shinohara, Kazuo, «Chaos and Machine», in: The Japan Architect 5–1988, S. 25–32. 
  • Shinohara, Kazuo, Shinohara Kazuo, Tokio 1996. 
  • Shinohara, Kazuo Street With Human Shadows, Bd. 1, Kitakyūshū 2004. 
  • Smith, Paul, «Cézanne’s ‹Primitive› Perspektive or the ‹View from Everywhere›», in: The Art Bulletin, 1–2013, S. 102–119. 
  • Stewart, David B., «Kazuo Shinohara’s Three Spaces of Architecture and his First and Second Style”, in: Kazuo Shinohara: Casas Houses, 2G 58/59, Barcelona 2011. 
  • Tanaka, Hidemichi, «Cézanne and ‹Japonisme›», in: Artibus et Historiae, 2001, Band 22, Jg. 44, S. 201–220.

Follow the Ladder!

4/25/2024

Part II: Shinohara, Tokyo in the late 20th century, and the promise of human shadows

“The discovery of new ways for ‘things to be’ gradually evolves into a study of the relationships among things and among people and things. This is the starting point for a discovery of spaces.”

Kazuo Shinohara, 1971

Kenchika Bunka No. 206.

1 Itō 1955.

2 See Fala 2021.


Until the 1960s, urban planning as a design practice was hardly discussed in Japan. Architectural journals mostly presented individual buildings, primarily residential, then also public buildings. The descriptions are always technical and factual, dealing with questions of construction and expression. In November 1961, departing from convention, the journal Kenchika Bunka devoted an issue to urban planning for the first time, drawing on international case studies. It was only shortly after the proclamation of the Metabolism Manifesto by Kenzo Tange (1913–2005), Kiyonori Kikutake (1928–2011), Kisho Kurokawa (1934–2007) and others that the city as a system was discussed for the first time. As a background to these developments was Tokyo’s 1958 bid for the 1964 Summer Olympics; in the issue, the approach to the subject of urban planning still appears technical, didactic, and far removed from the realities Japan was experiencing at the time.

The 1961 special issue was followed two years later, in December 1963, by another on the topic of “Japanese urban space“. Its aim was different, establishing a completely new paradigm. It is not difficult to imagine Kazuo Shinohara as a young architect, carefully reading its articles and quietly drawing up his own avenues of research, which would occupy him for the forty years that followed.

Shinohara's urban turn

The issue was edited by the architectural historian and critic Teiji Itō (1922–2010), among others. Itō worked with the architectural photographer Yukio Futagawa (1932–2013) in the late 1950s and together they published the magazine series Nihon no MinkaThe Japanese Minka [farmhouse],1 which was influential in Japan and the West. Itō was also one of the few Japanese architects who acted as a mediator of Japanese culture in the West. For a period, he served as a visiting professor at the University of Washington in Seattle; a role that certainly earned him a great deal of prestige in Japan.

The special issue of Kenchika Bunka on the city begins with a Metabolism-orientated introduction and overview of the topic, followed by a series of clearly delineated chapters. The first three in particular, with their titles “Principles of Space Order“, “Method of Space Composition“ and “Affector in Urban Space“, are a wide-ranging description of various urban phenomena – and thus appear to be the opposite of both the Metabolist view of the introduction and the usual technocratic approach. The chapter names could also be the titles of essays written by Shinohara. The phenomenological approach is reinforced by the choice of images. Many lively street scenes are shown, some photographed from a few old neighbourhoods or villages still preserved after the Second World War. The photos are accompanied by reproductions of painted screens, scrolls or wooden prints. It can be no coincidence that, from around this time, Shinohara, as a newly appointed assistant professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (TIT, now Tokyo Tech), began his research on old post stations along the five imperial routes (so-called “post towns“, Shukuba-eki), which he published from 1966 on.

The phenomenological and morphological view of the Japanese city has changed architecture more than urban planning. The latter remained largely beyond the control of architects and was left to the forces of capital and administration, which planned and optimised the city more in terms of fire protection, infrastructure, and tax collection. And so, it seems almost logical that urban phenomena were internalised by architecture. One example of typical traditional urban spaces that were adopted as motifs is the often narrow alleyway, known as rōji. Transformed into “urban“ interiors, they are first found in the work of Hiroshi Hara (1967, Ito House), Shinohara, and later also in the work of Takamitsu Azuma, Kazunari Sakamoto, Toyō Itō and others.2

Shinohara’s “urban turn“ took place around 1968 with the South House in Hanayama, in which a rōji and gap-like space of movement connects important areas in the house. This project led to Shinohara’s “Second Style“, with houses whose style-defining spatial dramaturgy moves dialectically between dramatic-vertical movement “fissure“ spaces and chambered, quiet living spaces. Shinohara’s original motivation towards city-like spaces is still unclear.

Nocturnal forays through domestic and urban spaces: Kōji Taki's view of the interior of Shinohara's Repeating Crevice (1971) – ©Kōji Taki, courtesy of The Kazuo Shinohara Estate at Tokyo Tech
Tour of the Urban Jungle by House in Uehara – ©Kiyoji Otsuji
01 | 03
Nocturnal forays through domestic and urban spaces: Kōji Taki's view of the interior of Shinohara's Repeating Crevice (1971) – ©Kōji Taki, courtesy of The Kazuo Shinohara Estate at Tokyo Tech

3 Kisa Decor 1975.

4 Shinohara 1975, p. 158–163.

5 See Shinohara 1976, p. 24.

6 Shinohara 1988, p. 28.

In a 1975 conversation between Shinohara and his friend, the philosopher, amateur photographer, and publicist Kōji Taki (1928–2011) about the significance of the city in his own designs, the architect refuses to give an answer. The interview is nevertheless revealing, as Taki does the interpretative work: he speaks of a “feeling of town“ or “image of the city“, an “original landscape of humanity“, and he concludes that “the city in the metaphysical sense [...] becomes visible in [Shinohara’s] residences“.3

It is interesting to note that Shinohara spoke in detail about the city, aesthetically and analytically, before this interview and, in connection with the Tanikawa House, even spoke generally of the street as a “transversal cross-section“ through a city, but neither in the corresponding essay nor in the interview does he wish to transfer such a phenomenon directly to his designs.4 From a Western perspective, the conversation between Taki and Shinohara seems like two protagonists almost bizarrely talking past one another. With hindsight, knowing Shinohara’s later theory, the dialogue now seems like the opening of a game of chess, a tactical approach to a possible new theoretical position. Shortly after the interview appeared, Shinohara presented the House in Uehara, a design whose interior he himself characterises as an urban jungle.5

Fragmentary space and the Zero Person

The House in Uehara can be seen as an anticipation of Shinohara’s “Fourth Style“, in which the vitality and chaos of Tokyo become the overarching design theme. The prelude is provided by his own small House in Yokohama in 1985, which was built around the same time as the much larger and widely received project for the “Centennial Hall“ of the Tokyo Institute of Technology (1987), which was conceived as an exhibition and conference building after the university’s centenary in 1981.

Shinohara sees Centennial Hall as an “architectural machine“, which establishes a “dialogue between the campus and the city“. This is achieved by means of a “floating“, curved half-cylinder above a “cube“, whose curved longitudinal axis mediates “in a random way“ between the open space of the campus and the nearby Ōkayama metro station. The parts of the building are put together as “fragmented spatial elements“ to form a “bundle of relationships“ that creates “random noise“: a “typical Tokyo cityscape“.6

Here, it is less the urban planning response and overall composition of Centennial Hall that is of interest than a detail that has gone completely unnoticed until now. Ultimately, the gestural “decoupling“ of the half-cylinder, cube, and other elements can be read as a metaphor for the metropolis of Tokyo at the time.

Fragmented spatial elements, a bundle of relationships, random noise: Kazuo Shinohara's Centennial Hall between autonomous object and dissolution in the city's soft landscape – © Tomio Ohashi
Intensified urban landscape: Centennial Hall from the perspective of an urban landscape that is still typical of Tokyo today – © Tomio Ohashi
Kazuo Shinohara, TIT Centennial Hall, 1987 – © Carlo Fumarola
Kazuo Shinohara, TIT Centennial Hall, 1987 – © Carlo Fumarola
Kazuo Shinohara, TIT Centennial Hall, 1987 – © Carlo Fumarola
Kazuo Shinohara, TIT Centennial Hall, 1987, plan – © The Kazuo Shinohara Estate at Tokyo Tech
Kazuo Shinohara, TIT Centennial Hall, 1987, plan – © The Kazuo Shinohara Estate at Tokyo Tech
Kazuo Shinohara, TIT Centennial Hall, 1987, plan – © The Kazuo Shinohara Estate at Tokyo Tech
Kazuo Shinohara, TIT Centennial Hall, 1987, section – © The Kazuo Shinohara Estate at Tokyo Tech
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Fragmented spatial elements, a bundle of relationships, random noise: Kazuo Shinohara's Centennial Hall between autonomous object and dissolution in the city's soft landscape – © Tomio Ohashi

Centennial Hall

7 Kuan 2021, p. 229.

8 Harman 2022, p. 68.

9 Ibid, p. 157.

10 Bonnin 2012, p. 330.

11 Ibid, p. 329–331.

12 Harman 2022, p. 68.

13 See Massip-Bosch 2015.

14 Smith 2013.

15 Shinohara 1979.

16 Lévi-Strauss 1973.

17 Shinohara 1976.

18Steward 2011, p. 262.

19 Shinohara 2004.

Upon entering the building, however, visitors first encounter a foyer whose inconsistent spatial effect makes it difficult to immediately grasp. Above a confusingly trapezoidal floor plan, diagonal lines rise at the transitions between transparent and closed spatial boundaries, destabilising the visitor’s perception. The space only becomes comprehensible through movement; it is structured by the round staircase core and two free-standing, slender pillars. An impressive ventilation machine and gangways for maintenance and lighting and other technology hover above the visitors.

The two aluminium-clad pillars have a lot going for them – or rather “around them“: between all the technological devices, they are reminiscent of the free-standing posts for electricity and telecommunications that are ubiquitous in Tokyo and other Asian metropolises. The scenery of the posts in a tangle of wires and cables is something the visitor will have just wandered through on their way through the city. The public interior of Centennial Hall thus becomes an urban space; visitors traverse an intensified urban. In addition, the posts are reminiscent of the two pillars in Tanikawa House.

The urban landscape of Tokyo is mirrored in the interior space; the content of this second part of the essay thus also ties in with the first. Elsewhere, Shinohara describes the “mechanism“ of his design in a strikingly similar “topological“ way to how Teiji Itō and his co-editors described the city views of Rakuchū rakugai in the aforementioned 1963 edition of Kenchiku bunka. Shinohara:

"Between [...] discrete parts, and in between the parts and the whole, [arises] a multifarious bundle of random relationships. There [is] no meaning of coherence attributed beforehand – no commemorative monumentality. But, instead, unanticipated, and diverse meanings – emerging between people and the overall space – [are] facilitated."7

Emerging between people and the overall space: This is architecture. Its space is an entity of fundamentally aesthetic experience and, due to its fragmentation and associated depth effect, has a particularly – if you’ll pardon this tautology – spatial, and above all, in a phenomenal sense, appellative effect: the individual architectural elements “move“ parallactically with the moving person, begin to “speak“, become performers. As in Cézanne’s landscape paintings, there are no perceptibly parallel lines here, no vanishing points to which the eye can adhere, and which privilege a certain point of view. Viewers move between things, in a manner resembling Cézanne’s gaze. The function of the foyer thus recedes, the experience of time comes to the fore: in this building Shinohara succeeded in realising the “modern whole” of space, time [and] architecture as postulated by Sigfried Giedion.

The American philosopher Graham Harman describes such a cancellation of function in the intertwined act of movement and seeing as “zeroing out”, as a third way between phenomenal perception and objective description. And in a recent book on philosophy and architecture, he also provides a catchy definition of the term that cancels out Shinohara’s postulated opposition between first and third person: Namely, the “Zero Person”:

"After all, what is in question here, is not anyone’s accidental first-person experience of walking through the various parts of a building over the course of an hour or two, but an ideal sense in which the parts of a building are essentially spread out in time no less than in space."8

Shinohara could have formulated it in the same way. What’s more, in a remarkable sentence, Harman even links his concept of the Zero Person with Paul Cézanne’s mode of perception – and thus gets to the heart of what must have been on Shinohara’s mind. Harman’s characterisation of perception in architectural space also explains why the trace of the ladder laid by Shinohara in Tanikawa House must necessarily lead to the elevated perspective of Rakuchū rakugai’s depictions of the city:

"[T]he temporal experience of architecture is in fact “the house seen from everywhere“ though substantialised or zeroed into an object that is something different from the house itself. It seems to give us the impossible: a God’s-eye view of the total being of a building."9

In the Japanese context, an analogy suggests itself: the Zero Person could also embody the Zen Buddhist ideal of “seeing with the heart“.10 Via the diversions of contemporary philosophy, we can thus encounter an essential core of Japanese aesthetics. It can be characterised, among other things, by the principle of Miegakure, which can be roughly translated as “visibility and invisibility“ or “appearance and disappearance“.11 The latter corresponds to the effect created by movement on the ground floor of Centennial Hall.

Nowhere does Miegakure reveal itself more clearly than in the garden art of the Far East: movement along a predetermined path gradually reveals things, but never completely, always in a play of foreground and background. This experience is genuinely linked to movement, and it is genuinely spatial – again similar to the experience of three-dimensionality in Cézanne’s paintings or the urban context in Rackuchū rakugai.

In the latter, it is precisely the clouds that create a zeroing out: an artful interruption of the overall context: “To ‘zero’ something means to subtract it from its relations.“12 Rackuchū rakugai thus actually appears as a paradox: the overall context of “Kyōto and its suburbs“ is wilfully broken up, only to create a new, “empty“ overall context “with the heart“, in the sense of Zen Buddhism.

In Centennial Hall, such effects are created both by the repeated sections of the underside of the half-cylinder and the outer staircase; by the canopy and the surrounding buildings, as well as by the reminiscent city as a whole, whose infrastructural background appears in the building as a technical fragment.13 Even more: if you look down from the mezzanine above the foyer through the horizontally braced structure, the gangways and the ventilation ducts, this could also be the view through the clouds of Rackuchū rakugai. The events “down in the city“ are repeatedly obscured and thus also appear immediately fragmented in one’s perception – things are decoupled from one another, their meaningful relationships are visually detached, aestheticised, “subtracted“. The gaze that sees here becomes a Zero Person.

Africa

The hyperbole between Cézanne and his own work, which the trained mathematician Shinohara himself hinted at with the ladder in Tanikawa House and multiplied in this essay, gains maximum momentum where the two positions converge in the concept of the “primitive“. In the spirit of an African reception of art, Cézanne described himself as a “primitive“ artist.14 Shinohara echoes this self-attribution when he links his experiences of travelling through Africa in the mid-1970s to his own “Third Style“ and his essay “Savage Space Machine” from 1979.15 Although the title of Claude Lévi-Strauss’s book, The Savage Mind16, which probably gave Shinohara his title, was not translated into Japanese until 1976, it can be assumed that Shinohara had already become familiar with the attribute “savage“ via Kōji Taki: the themes of “jungle“ and “savagery“ had emerged in House in Uehara shortly beforehand. Presumably several research trips to Africa had been planned since 1972, most likely also related to Lévi-Strauss’ work; in autumn 1975, however, the architect brought little of use back to Japan in this regard.17 But the distant search was not unsuccessful – on the contrary: in the 1977 article “The Third Style”, Shinohara describes an epiphany:

"Then about ten metres below, I see a writhing black mass. Inadvertently, I had come upon some ten young men bathing. [...] Black bodies, the solid curvature of black hands, feet, heads and groins seemed to move in waves, as sheets of falling water tangled against this blackness. Just beyond the concrete wall of the uncovered shower area lay the Gold Coast. The most deeply characteristic of African spaces may never be an actual building or a streetscape [...]. Instead, it comprises the inhabitants themselves."18

For him, this “African space“ remained an inspiration to the end. It is to be understood as a physically tangible composite of human bodies, landscape and artefacts – as the space that Shinohara calls “Street With Human Shadows” in his last essay published in English in 2004.19 The text is the transcript of a lecture that the architect gave on the occasion of the monographic exhibition of the same name in Kitakyūshū; on display were images from his travels all over the world, which, almost without exception, show lively street scenes.

Streets with human shadows: travel pictures by Kazuo Shinohara from Côte d'Ivoire, Andalusia, Italy, Portugal and Denmark – ©The Kazuo Shinohara Estate at Tokyo Tech
Streets with human shadows: travel pictures by Kazuo Shinohara from Côte d'Ivoire, Andalusia, Italy, Portugal and Denmark – ©The Kazuo Shinohara Estate at Tokyo Tech
Streets with human shadows: travel pictures by Kazuo Shinohara from Côte d'Ivoire, Andalusia, Italy, Portugal and Denmark – ©The Kazuo Shinohara Estate at Tokyo Tech
Streets with human shadows: travel pictures by Kazuo Shinohara from Côte d'Ivoire, Andalusia, Italy, Portugal and Denmark – ©The Kazuo Shinohara Estate at Tokyo Tech
Streets with human shadows: travel pictures by Kazuo Shinohara from Côte d'Ivoire, Andalusia, Italy, Portugal and Denmark – ©The Kazuo Shinohara Estate at Tokyo Tech
Streets with human shadows: travel pictures by Kazuo Shinohara from Côte d'Ivoire, Andalusia, Italy, Portugal and Denmark – ©The Kazuo Shinohara Estate at Tokyo Tech
Streets with human shadows: travel pictures by Kazuo Shinohara from Côte d'Ivoire, Andalusia, Italy, Portugal and Denmark – ©The Kazuo Shinohara Estate at Tokyo Tech
Streets with human shadows: travel pictures by Kazuo Shinohara from Côte d'Ivoire, Andalusia, Italy, Portugal and Denmark – ©The Kazuo Shinohara Estate at Tokyo Tech
Streets with human shadows: travel pictures by Kazuo Shinohara from Côte d'Ivoire, Andalusia, Italy, Portugal and Denmark – ©The Kazuo Shinohara Estate at Tokyo Tech
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Streets with human shadows: travel pictures by Kazuo Shinohara from Côte d'Ivoire, Andalusia, Italy, Portugal and Denmark – ©The Kazuo Shinohara Estate at Tokyo Tech

Umbrella House

Hokusais Sketches

20 Ibid.

21 See Shinohara 1996.

22 See Tanaka 2001, p. 215.

23 Smith 2013, p. 114.

24 See Decor 1975.

25 See Dehli/Grolimund 2022.

Shinohara’s view through the camera is both telescopic and intimate; all the images seem to explore or suggest a kind of connection between the figures of “human shadows“ and the spaces surrounding them. They seem as if the people depicted have just “produced“ their environment in a biological sense or have emerged from it as if after pupation. A difference in meaning between human actors as foreground and architecture as background cannot be discerned in the sheer ordinariness of these scenes. Everything appears on the same level of hierarchy – not unlike the Japanese or Chinese garden mentioned above: buildings and people appear as a result of movement, reveal something of themselves, are displaced against other things, and disappear from the field of vision. 

In his final text, Shinohara condenses this unprejudiced, distanced and at the same time committed view into an image that can now also be understood as a lucid transfer of the space of Rakuchū rakugai into the 20th century:

"The year was 1972, on the approach to Heathrow airport on an Aeroflot flight via Moscow. Coming into the airport at a low altitude, I glanced out the window and encountered what was probably a residential area of London, with not particularly wide streets filling my sight, trees lining the streets, and a number of people walking. It was my first trip overseas. At that moment I took away a marvellous scene that’s hard to express in words: This is a town, this is a place people live."20

Through Shinohara’s anthropological and aesthetic gaze, as it were, human activity and the city become one. And with the now explicit shift in meaning from architecture to the city, the dialectic between phenomenal and Cartesian space postulated at the very beginning of the first part of this essay is also cancelled out.

In 1973, one year after his first trip to Africa, Shinohara made a striking stylistic break: the House in Higashi-Tamagawa, with its alley or canyon-like interior, and the House in Seijo, with its tent-like roof, are worlds apart in terms of expression and content. 1973 is also the year in which Shinohara first spoke of “styles“ in relation to his own work, and even if House in Seijo is still categorised by the architect as belonging to his Second Style, it is closer to the philosophical-anthropological designs of his Third Style (which, according to the architect, begins with Tanikawa House).21

In Shinohara’s second style or “anti-style”, the architectural object seems to have been a minimalist, mechanical, “cold” other, an abstract and flat “work of art” that stretches out a space according to its own Euclidean geometric rules, which - although modelled on an urban setting - ultimately appears idealised, alienated, and devoid of people. Beginning with the “Third Style”, with Prism House, Tanikawa House and House in Uehara, and at the latest with Centennial Hall, this space is enlivened by human figures moving between figuratively articulated objects such as columns, beams, and blades of wind. Through such transversal movement, the space is to a certain extent curved, it begins to vibrate, fluctuates, becomes “hot”. From then on, Shinohara's “architectural machine” functions more like an algorithm or an artificial intelligence that becomes more and more like us and the city we live in - even if the geometry remains the constitutive element in the designs

Space as a metaphor for fluctuating systems

At this point, we could usefully make another reference to the aforementioned artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849): His serially produced woodblock prints thrive on a complex combination of simple geometric figures, which, through composition, graphic transformation and colour, discard everything mechanical about the production process.22 It is very possible that Shinohara was familiar with the textbook sketches by Hokusai mentioned in connection with Paul Cézanne and secretly referred to them when he based the later designs of his Fourth Style on basic geometric forms.

Just as Hokusai’s opposition between compositional and production processes and animated expression disappears, Shinohara’s apodictically constructed opposition between first and third person, between life and architecture, also dissolves after Tanikawa House. Although the latter, as an artistically produced artefact, retains its own geometric “regularity“ or autonomy, it constructs emotional effects for people. And yet Shinohara’s final designs are less like alienated machines than animistic objects made by us, emerging from the city itself. They are like fetish-objects that we might keep close.

Shinohara’s architectural objects are therefore not to be understood as challenging contrasts in the modernist sense, his metaphorization of the city is more eventful than symbolic: They appear in the city without the usual Western distinctions between background and foreground, tradition and progress, nature and culture, or man and machine. Shinohara’s architectural objects are materially and meaningfully embedded in our everyday and phenomenal world – just as we are immersed in it with our bodies.

Kazuo Shinohara’s view of architecture and the city is always first and foremost an aesthetic one; it is both pictorial and performative. Initially it feeds pictorially and later conceptually on borrowings from traditional architecture and art such as Rakuchū rakugai, European painting and contemporary photography; from the Third Style onwards, it follows concepts from philosophy, mathematics, chemistry, and physics. The latter in particular provides decisive impulses: in the mid-1980s, for example, the concept of “chaos“ takes on an explicit meaning through scientific publications, such as those by the Nobel Prize winner for chemistry, Ilya Prigogine. When this text talks about a “fluctuating“ space in connection with Centennial Hall, it also refers to the “emergent“ phenomena that were described and popularised by the chaos theory of the 1980s and 1990s: For example, when fluctuations in non-linear systems stabilise into stable structures – such as in fluid dynamics, in electronic circuits, but also in ecosystems and in the economy.

On the eve of the 21st century, Shinohara thought he recognised such non-linear phenomena in Tokyo too. One example he repeatedly cites is the famous Shibuya intersection, where crowds of people “fluctuate“ between electronic billboards and short-lived architecture, while at the same time embodying a stable metropolitan culture.

Architectural space can therefore also be understood as a non-linear system – “non-linear“ is meant here literally – in it, with it and through it, human actions aggregate and reinforce each other, emerging from a cultural practice and stabilising it at the same time. This also applies to the architectural object; it “emerges“ from the cultural background of the city. The urban space that fluctuates between these objects is soft and blurred, “topological“: it emerges from countless individual perspectives like the “continuous“ and “elastic“ pictorial space of Cézanne, which appears in the eye of the beholder through the virtual movement in a depicted landscape.23 This space is first and third person at the same time: Zero Person.

Cézanne's ladder back in Europe

With this final conclusion, it is worth taking one last look at Rakuchū rakugai from the top of a 21st century ladder, so to speak. The small scenes depicted between the clouds seem as ephemeral as they are eternal, fluctuating in the city while simultaneously static: despite their fixation on the picture medium, in their entirety they create a vibrant liveliness. A liveliness, mind you, of the timeless moment, the “emptiness“ that can still be encountered today and, in reality, between human figures and architectural objects everywhere and, again and again, as one finds in Tokyo. This “Buddhist“ emptiness occurs wherever the aesthetic gaze fluctuates between experienced and objectified – or rather – virtual space.

This tangible emptiness perhaps finally raises the question of the “urbanity“ of Tanikawa House postulated in the first part of this essay – because the residence of the poet Shuntarō Tanikawa stands in a wooded area, far away from the urban location where it was conceived and set out. One possible answer is provided by the ladder in the summer space; after the “urban“ projects of Shinohara’s Second Style, it perhaps enables virtually the “objectified“ or, according to the philosopher Graham Harman, “godlike“ view from above, which conveys an idea of the constantly changing and fluctuating topological space between architectural objects in the city as just described. On the sloping ground, it also shows the moment of uncertainty par excellence that is typical of urban life, perhaps in contrast to the tent-like protective roof above and the adjacent cosy Pioneer Cabin.

The current owner advises against using the ladder, and so it remains purely a figure of thought for the time being. Even if the “church for a pantheist“ can only be understood indirectly as an urban space, the poet’s house is still a very urban spot, best compared to an Edo-period samurai residence where courtly and rural customs meet, or an art location in the countryside, idyllically situated above a wild valley and in the middle of the forest, which is so typical of today’s Japan. In a certain sense, the summer space of Tanikawa House not only abolishes the (Western) contrast between domestic and urban space, but also that between city and nature: Shinohara understood the inclined plane and the space it spans as a mathematical-topological condition for architecture that can always be treated in the same way – be it urban or rural.24

Although the ladder in Tanikawa House cannot be climbed, the interweaving of experience and rapture just described can now be experienced directly, even in Europe and in its essence: namely in Umbrella House, which was moved from Tokyo to the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein in 2022 and marks a similarly important turning point in Kazuo Shinohara’s work as Tanikawa House.25 If you climb up the ladder above the height of the crossed beams that symbolically divide the space, the living room below suddenly appears “as if from an aeroplane window“: under the umbrella-like roof, you are no longer physically immersed, but removed, or even enraptured. Like the structure in Centennial Hall, the beams conceal parts of the scenery below. The path from the phenomenal first person singular to the virtual third person is thus actually extremely short and simple: a Zero Person climbs over just eleven rungs in a theatrical act from the “I“ of his domestic world to the “it“ of the city.

Bibliography:  

  • Bonnin, Philippe, Nishida Masatsugu, Inaga Shigemi, Vocabulaire de la spatialité japonaise, Paris 2012. 
    Dehli, Christian, Grolimund, Andrea (Hg.), Kazuo Shinohara: The Umbrella House Project, Weil am Rhein 2022. 
  • Fala Atelier (Hg.),1961–1992 Japan, Sammlung japanischer Häuser, Porto 2021. 
  • Harman, Graham, Architecture and Objects, Minneapolis 2022. 
  • Itō, Teijii, Yukio Futagawa, Nihon no minka, Tokio 1955. 
  • Kuan. Seng (Hg.): Kazuo Shinohara. Traversing The House and the City, Zürich 2021, S. 229. Original japanisch «ModanNekusuto he no messēji: toshi, kaosu, kassei», in: Kenchiku bunka, Nr. 504 (Oktober 1988), S. 30–39. 
  • Kisa Decor (Hg.), Seminar Series Nr. 1, «Housing and the City: Koji Taki Dialogue Collection, Conversations with four designers», Heft 3, 1975.  
  • Lévi-Strauss, Claude, Das wilde Denken, Frankfurt a.M. 1973; japanisch Yasei no shikō, Tokio 1976. 
  • Massip-Bosch, Enric, Emotion Devices. The Role of Concrete Frame Structures in the Architecture of Kazuo Shinohara, Barcelona 2015.
  • Shinohara, Kazuo, «Ragyō no kūkann no ōdan suru toki», in: Shinkenchiku, Tokyo, Oktober 1975, S. 158–163. Englische Übersetzung: Kazuo Shinohara, «When Naked Space is Traversed», in: JA The Japan Architect, Februar 1976, S. 69. 
  • Shinohara, Kazuo «The Savage Machine as an Exercise», in: The Japan Architect, März 1979. 
  • Shinohara, Kazuo, «Chaos and Machine», in: The Japan Architect 5–1988, S. 25–32. 
  • Shinohara, Kazuo, Shinohara Kazuo, Tokio 1996. 
  • Shinohara, Kazuo Street With Human Shadows, Bd. 1, Kitakyūshū 2004. 
  • Smith, Paul, «Cézanne’s ‹Primitive› Perspektive or the ‹View from Everywhere›», in: The Art Bulletin, 1–2013, S. 102–119. 
  • Stewart, David B., «Kazuo Shinohara’s Three Spaces of Architecture and his First and Second Style”, in: Kazuo Shinohara: Casas Houses, 2G 58/59, Barcelona 2011. 
  • Tanaka, Hidemichi, «Cézanne and ‹Japonisme›», in: Artibus et Historiae, 2001, Band 22, Jg. 44, S. 201–220.
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In conversation with Jerome Becker and Matthias Moroder, Marc Leschelier emphasises his aversion to functionalism and stresses the importance of architecture as a form of expression. read
22/02
Chaos and Structure
Article 22/01
7/1/2022Gerrit Confurius
Teatro di Marcello, Rom, Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778), ca. 1757

Permanence as a principle

Gerrit Confurius recalls the end of the printed edition of Daidalos and recommends the principle of permanence as a strategy for the future tasks of architecture as well. read
22/01
Permanence as a principle
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