Shinohara Kazuo: ModernNext

Shinohara's Tanikawa House (1974), Naganohara, Gunma Prefecture. Photo by Ueda Hiroshi.

Shinohara's Tanikawa House (1974), Naganohara, Gunma Prefecture. Photo by Ueda Hiroshi.

For much of his career, Shinohara Kazuo built beautiful single-family houses that have reconfigured and enriched our understanding of domesticity, tradition, form, language, scale, nature, and the city. He famously declared “A house is a work of art” just as the Metabolists, who were his contemporaries, were ascending in influence and notoriety. While Shinohara organized his long career into a chronological series of Styles—First, Second, Third, and Fourth—through which he pursued different formal, representational, and technological expressions, there were also important motifs he never wavered from, with the relationship between the house and its surrounding urbanity being the most important and persistent.

This exhibition on Shinohara’s architecture highlights his nuanced attitude toward the city, which emerged with greater saliency in the late 1970s and reached its apotheosis in the following decade through a series of institutional-scale projects. This position was partly informed by his travels abroad, to Africa, the Americas, and Europe, and by his reading of European cultural criticism. Shinohara labeled this last period the Fourth Style. In an essay published in the journal Kenchiku Bunka in 1988, Shinohara introduced the term “ModernNext.” As a counterpoint to postmodernism, ModernNext was also a commentary on Japan’s Bubble Economy, as the scale and intensity of urban activity reached unprecedented heights. ModernNext was a decisively forward-looking attitude. In the same way tradition formed the basis of innovation for the First Style, chaos and randomness were to instigate a new vitality for architecture and the city.

Exhibition credits

Curators: Seng Kuan, Angela Y. Pang, and Shiozaki Taishin

Curatorial Assistants: Albert Lui, Siu Man, Po Po, and Jacob Wong

Exhibition Installation: Ray Coffey, Jef Czekaj, Anita Kan, Sarah Lubin, Jesus Matheus, and Joanna Vouriotis

Structural Consultants Dennis Chan and Hiraiwa Yoshiyuki

General Contractor Woodcat LLC

Construction Supervisor Ben Dryer Carpenters Alex Benevides and Ernesto Castellanos

Dan Borelli, Director of Exhibitions

David Zimmerman-Stuart, Exhibitions Coordinator

Watch a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Shinohara Kazuo: ModernNext: