Clusters in the Air

Isozaki’s advice to young aspiring architects, “Leading architects of the 21st century need to be able to look beyond what architects can normally do or think of…What I can tell from my experience of working in this profession for the past fifty years is that the world will change beyond our anticipation. For instance, people in the 1960s predicted that the world would become completely digitalized, like today, but we still could not imagine it. It is not a revolution but a paradigm shift. Those who can foresee the coming changes become leaders. If you just follow the trends, you become short-sighted.”

Clusters in the Air, Shibuya, 1960-62. Isozaki’s proposal for a new kind of housing envisioned to be built above the existing city. The old and new blocks are connected by ‘joint cores’ – huge cylindrical ‘trunks’ which also accommodate public transportation. There vertical cores are built on randomly selected empty lots which support the units of housing along its ‘branches’. The system is inspired by traditional Japanese wooden architecture, especially the bracketing system employed in projects such as the Great South Gate of Todai-ji in Nara.


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