New Metabolism

Osaka, the second largest urban region in Japan, initiated several urban renewal projects in the last years. One concrete project currently in preparation is the redevelopment of the former Osaka Expo 1970 site. The purpose of this studio is to provide an academic base to design alternative concepts for the redevelopment of this historic site. The studio will re-evaluate the works of the Japanese Metabolists, not as technocratic or mega form architecture but as contextual proposals for urbanism dealing with issues of program, form, land use, resource and transport flows and community building. This research will inform case studies and design proposals which are complementing or critiquing existing planning strategies for the site. As this studio is part of a larger investigation and collaboration with the companies and authorities involved, the aim is to create a body of research and a set of ideas to be able to communicate to a larger audience including the administrative government. The design portion of the studio will be focusing on different scales in a reversed method: 1) details in 1:1 scale, 2) a concept of a master plan, 3) a building proposal. Each phase will be subdivided into several steps. At the end, there will be two proposals for students to develop in different scales. The first is a concept for the site on an urban planning scale. Aim is to construct strategies both for local and global contexts. The second part has to prove the ideas of the urban proposal on a building scale and show it in detail.1) 1:1 Scale: As an introductory project, and a method of investigating possibilities, students will be asked to create a specialized connection based on a material of their choice in 1:1 scale. This project is intended to allow for a free exploration of connection, form, and materiality without the constraints of a site or a program. 2) A master plan concept: An urbanistic design concept of program, infrastructure, and open spaces, the interaction of these factors and the combination with surrounding neighborhoods and adjacent cities must be outlined. 3) A building proposal: The ideas presented in the urbanistic design shall be shown in detail and exemplified in one individual building. In this detached building, particular technologies, detailed material and construction concepts representing a portion of the overall space program can be developed.Background: In 1960, the Japanese Metabolists were drafting their manifesto in which they discussed the city with the metaphor of a natural system, the same time as Jane Jacobs famously wrote that cities are as natural as \”colonies of prairie dogs or beds of oysters\”. In 1970, the world expo was held in Osaka. This was the first world fair held in Japan and the most successful ever until Shanghai 2010. Kenzo Tange designed its master plan, and 12 other Japanese architects built projects within the total site of 330ha. After 1972, the site of the Osaka Expo became the \”Expo Commemoration Park\” and was managed both by the State and the Osaka Prefecture. The southern portion was turned into an amusement park. Since 2003, an independent administrative organization called the \”Commemorative Organization for the Japan World Exposition 1970\” was formed. All pavilions and historically important architectural monuments were demolished except some memorial buildings and pieces. Currently, the area contains a nature park of 985,000m2 with 600,000 trees. While the state decided to abolish the independent administrative organization and to shift the management of the Expo Commemoration Park to the regional administration by the end of 2010, the Osaka Prefecture announced to seek for public proposals to redevelop the area of 20-30ha of the amusement park which by now had been closed. The proposals should include an entertainment function and be able to turn the site into an internationally viable tourist attraction with