Postwar Visions on a New Architectural Experience: Kiyonori Kikutake’s Sky House and Le Corbusier’s National Museum of Western Art
Author: Xinrui Chen
Shanghai Foreign Language School, Shanghai, China
This paper examines design philosophies of the Sky House (1958) and the National Museum of Western Art (NMWA, 1959) by Kiyonori Kikutake and Le Corbusier, respectively, in Japan in the 1950s. At this time, facing radical social changes and massive reconstruction worldwide, modernist architects were prompted to reappropriate prewar architectural experience. Building on modernist functionalism, they balanced modernity with tradition, flexibility with solidarity, and rigidity with nature.
Analyzing architectural publications and comparing plans, elevations, and facades of the two architecture, this paper demonstrates that the current understanding on architectural experiences echoes the philosophies in these two postwar structures. Kiyonori Kikutake and Le Corbusier seemed to have a dialogue with each other in their projects by combining the values of humanism, nature, and tradition, demonstrating great possibilities for future buildings. The designs of the Sky House and the NMWA also laid the foundation for two similar postwar architectural movements, Metabolism and New Brutalism.