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Tokyo Iconic Metabolizing
Manuel Bouzas

The first thing I learnt from Tokyo is that what doesn’t work is not fixed, it is replaced. Old symbols are substituted by new ones all the time. This research was conducted by Manuel Bouzas and supervised by Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (Atelier Bow-Wow) at the Tsukamoto LAB. It was carried out in 2017 as a result of the Summer Exchange Research Program (SERP), issued by the Tokyo Institute of Technology along the `Universidad Politécnica de Madrid´. It attempts to comprehend and analyse the continuous flows of material exchange within the city, presenting 20 study cases where iconic buildings witnessed different metabolic processes of replacement. In Tokyo houses have an average life of 26 years. For this reason we could say that 26 years ago the city was composed by a lot of buildings that largely don’t correspond to the current ones. The city is constantly updating itself without trouble due to two important reasons. First, the city is composed by millions of isolated pieces littely separated between them due to earthquake prevention. Second, buildings don’t try to produce a homogeneous identity. This ephemeral condition confronts with occidental urban culture, where buildings describe a homogeneous image, and preservation practices become necessary in order to keep the identity of the city. Nevertheless Tokyo´s urban fabric has a superblock configuration, enabling emblematic, commercial and large buildings to be located in the perimeter, while fragile houses remain `protected´ inside. All these conditions allows the city to constantly replace their buildings. But even if the image of the city is not exactly the same, Tokyo is still being Tokyo.

Bio Manuel Bouzas (Pontevedra, 1993) is a Madrid-based Architect graduated with honors at ETSAM-UPM in 2018, where he also collaborated as teaching assistant in the Architectural Design Department. His architectural practice is focused on exploring social and environmental ecosystems through: Temporary installations, Public competitions & Territorial planning. His work was exhibited in the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale and has been recently granted with the "COAM Award 2020 for Emerging Architects" and the "Renzo Piano World Tour Award 2020". He has completed a Research Program at Tokyo Institute of Technology, and has collaborated with renowned architecture offices such as Aires Mateus, Atelier Bow-Wow and IDOM.

Softcover, 210mm x 145 mm, 108 pages

Author Manuel Bouzas
Supervised by Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (Tsukamoto LAB)
Location Madrid, Spain