Kyoto (1960-1964)| Modern Architecture in Kyoto in 1960s: Driving force behind the construction of Kyoto Tower ( Part 1)

In the previous blog post, we have talked about Yamada Mamoru, the modernist architect who constructed the Kyoto Tower, and Bunriha, the Japanese Secessionist group who advocated the Modernist movement in Japan, which put a lot of emphasis on expressionism and structure. In this post, we will talk about the background of modern architectural development took place in Japan in the 1960s that paved way to a series of construction of modernist architecture, and the Kyoto Tower in Japan.

In 1960s, one of the main struggles of the architects of Kyoto would be bringing modern architecture into the Japanese aesthetic context, creating new hybrid architecture to the prefecture while not disrupting the historical context of the site. [1] It was indeed a challenge to integrate new modernist element into the site where the traditional and original structure has this natural harmonic connection to the nature and the surroundings.

Nevertheless, quite a number of architects took on this challenge, while Yamada Mamoru was one of them, with Bunriha as the supporting group. Some believed that the modern architecture in Kyoto should gain the same recognition and respect as the ones temples and shrine get. According to Professor Hiroshi Matsukuma of Kyoto Institute of Technology, a lot of old modern buildings have been torn down and perished without much awareness on their importance.

In fact, one of the examples of notable modern architecture in the 60s would be the Kyoto Kaikan Hall (1960), designed by Kunio Mayekawa, a follower of Le Corbusier.[2] It is a multicultural hall for concerts and events.  It has the characteristics of modern architecture with its emphasis on efficiency and streamline, but also succeeded in responding to the traditional context of Kyoto by echoing the big eaves of traditional wooden houses and the gate of Nanzenji Temple. Regarding the background of the architect of the hall, Kunio was one of the leading Modernist architect in the era, well known for his approach to public architecture, one of them would be the Tokyo Metropolitan Festival Hall (1961). He struggled in his path to establish modernism in Japanese architecture. In the next blog post, we would continue on the modern architecture development in Japan that paved ways to the emergence and construction of the tower.

 

Bibliography:

Sachiko Tamashige, 2011, Making Kyoto’s modern architecture part of the city’s heritage, The Japan Times

Jonathan M. Reynolds, Maekawa Kunio and the Emergence of Japanese Modernist Architecture

 

[1] Sachiko Tamashige, 2011, Making Kyoto’s modern architecture part of the city’s heritage, The Japan Times

[2] Jonathan M. Reynolds, Maekawa Kunio and the Emergence of Japanese Modernist Architecture

Kyoto Kaikan Hall
Kyoto Kaikan Hall
Kyoto Kaikan Hall 02
Kyoto Kaikan Hall 02

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