Other Notable Deaths

October 22, 2007



Kisho Kurokawa, the influential Japanese architect and theorist behind projects including Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, a futurist complex penetrated by a rain forest, died Oct. 12 in Tokyo. He was 73.

The cause was heart failure, the Associated Press said, quoting a hospital spokeswoman.

Mr. Kurokawa was one of the youngest founding members of Japan's Metabolist movement, which advocated an organic, renewable architecture that could evolve through the addition of clip-on modular units. This school of thought emerged around 1960, partly as a response to concerns about overcrowding, and culminated in the Osaka World Expo of 1970, where three buildings by Mr. Kurokawa were showcased.

Countering the machine aesthetic of International Modernism, the Metabolists saw buildings as living cellular organisms that could evolve and expand over time. Mr. Kurokawa conceived of houses floating on a lake and a tower patterned on the DNA molecule. Among the most notable Metabolist projects he realized was the 1972 Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo's Ginza district, in which the apartments were replaceable pods. In 1977 he designed the Capsule Inn Osaka, considered the first pod hotel.

Even as he championed this progressive form of architecture, Mr. Kurokawa paid homage to traditional Japanese design, both in his execution of details that are virtually invisible and in a reliance on natural tones and textures. He was later associated with a movement called Symbiosis, which championed an architectural synthesis of global cultural influences and viewed buildings as living entities that could enrich human beings.

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