2 Urban Planning of Tokyo Bay: Stylistic Changes in response to Economic Fluctuations from 1960 – 1990, Kisho Kurokawa

The eventual burst of the Economy Bubble in 1991 raised awareness towards the significance of technological advancement of public facilities and transportation for Japan that was undergoing industrialization in the aim of achieving globalization and interconnecting cities. This resulted in the mass production of the mega structure projects along the waterfront, reminiscent to the Metabolist movement in the 1960s.

Fig, 1. 2.9 Million People to Live on the West Side and 2.7 Million People to Live on East Side of Neo Tokyo Plan by 1975

In 1987, Kurokawa’s proposal of the “Neo Tokyo Plan 2025” was a refinement to his predeceasing plans in 1960 that was envisioned to be executed at a grander scale in the centre of Tokyo Bay, as clusters of floating structures on top of a doughnut shaped area of reclaimed land.

Fig, 2. Neo Tokyo Plan 2025

The original plan in 1960 was the “Kasumigaura Floating City”, a concept that was similar to Kenzo Tange’s Tokyo Plan and featured vertical zoning through a mega structural lattice that supports dwelling within. This was designed in conjunction to the growth of the Metabolist and the project was described as a self-contained floating urban district, showcasing infrastructure of elevators to emphasize vertical movement and also serves as an alternative to create an artificial urban environment across Tokyo Bay.

Fig, 3. Kurokawa’s Floating City Plan for 1960

The projects of Kurokawa represented the attitudes manifested by architects and urban designers towards their approach to marine cities which were functional, impactful and compact that showcased sci-fi elements which were influenced from shipbuilding and other industrial technology, even to a certain extent supporting the “Athens Charter” of the function of the inhabitants including live, play and work.


Koolhaas, Rem., Hans Ulrich. Obrist, Kayoko. Ota, James. Westcott, and Office for Metropolitan Architecture. AMO. Project Japan : Metabolism Talks-. Köln ; London: TASCHEN GmbH, 2011.

Kurokawa, Kisho. “Kisho Kurokawa. Helix City Project, Tokyo, Japan (Plan). 1961: MoMA.” The Museum of Modern Art. Accessed December 28, 2019. https://www.moma.org/collection/works/621.

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