TOKYO – Kiyonori Kikutake, the architect, who has died aged 83, was the driving force behind Japan’s Metabolism movement, notable for audacious city plans that were in the best traditions of science fiction.
Having been galvanised in the Modernist cause by Kikutake, a generation of post-war architects vied with one another to create the most sensational utopian projects. Floating towns – either in the air or on water – were a standard theme.
In particular, he and his fellow Metabolists saw floating islands in Tokyo Bay as an answer to the megacity’s growth problem. Colonising the sea, Kikutake believed, was a means of escaping the heavy industrialisation that was a by-product of Japan’s economic miracle in the 1950s and 1960s. Some of his plans resembled giant termite hills rising from the waves.