Born in Tokyo, educated in Japan and the United States, and principal of an internationally acclaimed architectural practice, celebrated architect Fumihiko Maki brings to his writings on architecture a perspective that is both global and uniquely Japanese. Influenced by post-Bauhaus internationalism, sympathetic to the radical urban architectural vision of Team X, and a participant in the avant-garde movement Metabolism, Maki has been at the forefront of his profession for decades. This collection of essays documents the evolution of architectural modernism and Maki's own fifty-year intellectual journey during a critical period of architectural and urban history.
Maki's treatment of his two overarching themes—the contemporary city and modernist architecture—demonstrates strong (and sometimes unexpected) linkages between urban theory and architectural practice. After writing about his first encounters with modern architecture and with CIAM and Team X, Maki describes his studies of "collective form," the relationship between cities and their individual buildings. His influential essay "The Japanese City and Inner Space" traces characteristics of the Japanese city from the Edo period to contemporary Tokyo; his consideration of Japanese modernism begins with a discussion of the "Le Corbusier syndrome" in modern Japanese architecture. Images and commentary on three of Maki's own works demonstrate the connection between his writing and his designs. Moving through the successive waves of modernism, postmodernism, neomodernism, and other isms, these essays reflect how several generations of architectural thought and expression have been resolved within one career.