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Last edited 12 Apr 2017
Metabolism in architecture
Presented with the opportunities of post-war rebuilding as a result of the devastation caused by the 1945 atomic bombs, designers and architects began to put into practice alternative theories and ideas for how cities should be designed.
Metabolism represented an urban environment that was responsive, replaceable and could grow in an organic way. It largely followed the ‘megastructure’ form that was gaining in popularity with architects and planners at the time, as a means of addressing the growing populations of urban areas and the rapidly-changing lifestyles of the post-war era. The principles of the megastructure were that it had to be modular, capable of extension and have a framework into which smaller elements could be ‘plugged’ or replaced.
The Japanese Metabolists were particularly inspired by University of East Anglia’s ‘Ziggurats’, as well as by Safdie’s Habitat 67 in Montreal. Although many projects failed to get off the ground, the examples of the Metabolist form include the battleship-esque New Sky Building in Shinjuku (see image above) and the Nakagin Capsule Tower.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Architectural styles.
- Art Moderne.
- Buckminster Fuller.
- Constructivist architecture.
- Frei Otto.
- Fuji TV Building, Tokyo.
- Geodesic dome.
- Habitat 67.
- High-tech architecture.
- Last Futures: Nature, Technology and the End of Architecture.
- Lloyds of London.
- Nakagin Capsule Tower.
- Norfolk Terrace and Suffolk Terrace - ‘the Ziggurats’.
- Robot Building, Bangkok.
- The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945.
- Unusual building design of the week.
- Urban design.
 External references
- ‘Last Futures: Nature, Technology and the End of Architecture’, MURPHY D., Verso Books (2015).
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