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MoMA Announces Publication on Japanese Structural Design from 1950 Through Today

The Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art is proud to announce the publication of Structured Lineages: Learning from Japanese Structural Design, edited by Guy Nordenson. Originally delivered as talks at a symposium held at The Museum of Modern Art in 2016, on the occasion of the exhibition A Japanese Constellation: Toyo Ito, SANAA, and Beyond, the 10 essays gathered in this volume offer insight into the collaborations between architects and structural engineers that engendered many of the most important buildings erected in Japan after 1945, with special focus on the work of Kawaguchi Mamoru, Kimura Toshihiko, Matsui Gengo, Saitō Masao, Sasaki Mutsurō, and Tsuboi Yoshikatsu.

Charting a largely unexplored history in a manner at once scholarly and accessible, these conversations and essays—each accompanied by an expansive array of archival and contemporary photographs—illustrate how fluidly the innovations of this collaborative tradition passed from one generation to the next. Some of Japan’s most recognizable, globally influential designs are traced to their origins in a mentor’s earlier experiments. The diverse backgrounds of the scholars and engineers who contributed to Structured Lineages inform the book’s uniquely international perspective on the spirit of creativity and cooperation that arose in Japan in the latter half of the 20th century and persists in Japanese architectural practices to this day. Our appreciation of many of the most extraordinary architectural achievements in Japan would be incomplete, even distorted, this volume argues, without a better understanding of the impact of structural engineers on architectural form.


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Kawaguchi Mamoru (architect and engineer). Fuji Pavilion, Expo ’70, Osaka. Exterior view. Completed 1970. Courtesy Kawaguchi & Engineers

Maekawa Kunio and Le Corbusier in Maekawa’s office with Kimura Toshihiko at left in November 1955. Courtesy Mayekawa Associates, Architects & Engineers

Tange Kenzō (architect). Tsuboi Yoshikatsu (engineer). Ehime Prefectural Citizens’ Hall. Interior view. Completed 1953. Photograph by Hirayama Chuji. Tange Associates/Hirayama Chuji

Tange Kenzō (architect). Tsuboi Yoshikatsu (engineer). Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Tokyo. Interior view. Completed 1964. Photograph by Morio. Morio under CC-BY-SA-3.0, from Wikimedia Commons

Kawaguchi Mamoru, architect and engineer. Expo ’70 Fuji Group Pavilion, Osaka, Japan. Completed 1970. Photograph by Kawaguchi Mamoru. Courtesy Kawaguchi & Engineers

Murata Yutaka (architect). Kawaguchi Mamoru (engineer). 12th World Orchids Conference Pavilions, Kanagawa Prefecture. Interior view. Completed 1987. Photograph by Kawaguchi Mamoru. Courtesy Kawaguchi & Engineers

Kawaguchi Mamoru (architect and engineer). Fureai Dome, Nagano Prefecture. Interior view. Completed 1997. Photograph Kenta Mabuchi. Kenta Mabuchi under CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kajima Design. Saitō Masao (engineer). Izumo Dome, Shimane. Interior view. Completed 1992. Photograph Kenta Mabuchu. Kenta Mabuchi under CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Itō Tōyō (architect). Sasaki Mutsurō (engineer). Meiso no Mori (Forest of Meditation) crematorium, Gifu Prefecture. Exterior view. Completed 2006. Photograph courtesy Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects. Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects

Junzo Yoshimura. Japanese Exhibition House, The Museum of Modern Art. Exhibited 1954-55. Photograph by Soichi Sunomi, courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art Department of Architecture and Design. Soichi Sunomi/The Museum of Modern Art, New York