Living Machines

Offered in the penultimate semester of the M.Arch program sequence, the primary context of this studio is Tokyo—the largest global city and one of the most actively regenerating metropolitan territories. In the 1960s, the rapid expansion of the Japanese megalopolis drew the focus of the Metabolists, a post-World War II Japanese avant-garde group who sought to address problems related to population density and limited material resources with architecture inspired by organic systems.

In this studio, students first evaluate the design and theoretical contributions of the Metabolists, generating architectural proposals to transform and extend these biotechnical strategies into the deeper future. The main enterprise of the studio is the design of a new mixed-use development straddling Tokyo Bay—on the site of the soon-to-be-relocated Tsukiji Fish Market—that takes a critical position relative to Metabolist principles. The work is informed by Makoto Sei Watanabe’s concept of induction design, Kevin Kelly’s notion of the vivisystem, and Atelier Bow-Wow’s concept of the environmental unit.

ARCH 8255: Graduate Architectural Design III. Graduate design studio, required M.Arch course (6 credits). University of Minnesota School of Architecture.

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