Author(s): Rem Koolhaas
This is a new architecture for postwar Japan. Once there was a nation that went to war, but after they conquered a continent their own country was destroyed by atom bombs...then the victors imposed democracy on the vanquished. For a group of apprentice architects, artists, and designers, led by a visionary, the dire situation of their country was not an obstacle but an inspiration to plan and think - although they were very different characters, the architects worked closely together to realize their dreams, staunchly supported by a super-creative bureaucracy and an activist state...after 15 years of incubation, they surprised the world with a new architecture - Metabolism - that proposed a radical makeover of the entire land...Then newspapers, magazines, and TV turned the architects into heroes: thinkers and doers, thoroughly modern men. Through sheer hard work, discipline, and the integration of all forms of creativity, their country, Japan, became a shining example...when the oil crisis initiated the end of the West, the architects of Japan spread out over the world to define the contours of a post-Western aesthetic. Between 2005 and 2011, architect Rem Koolhaas and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist interviewed the surviving members of Metabolism, together with dozens of their mentors, collaborators, rivals, critics, proteges, and families. The result is a vivid documentary of the last avant-garde movement and the last moment that architecture was a public rather than a private affair.
Rem Koolhaas is a co-founder of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture. Having worked as a journalist and script writer before becoming an architect, in 1978 he published Delirious New York. In 1995, his book S,M,L,XL summarized the work of OMA and established connections of contemporary society and architecture. Amongst many international awards and exhibitions he received the Pritzker Prize (2000) and the Praemium Imperiale (2003). Hans Ulrich Obrist (born 1968) is a curator, critic and historian. He is currently Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery, London. Obrist is the author of The Interview Project, an extensive ongoing project of interviews.