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Metabolism/2022: Hermeneutics of an Architectural Manifesto

Part 2 Dissertation 2022
Paul Tatsumi Walker
University of Greenwich | UK
Metabolism 1960: Proposals for a New Urbanism has entered the architectural canon and is viewed today as an epitome of a distant ‘age of manifestos’, suggesting separation and a decline in its power since its peak in the mid-20th century.

This thesis seeks to challenge the view of texts from this era as artefacts and vestiges of their consummate movements and instead reinvigorate them as the continual creative forces they were intended to be.

Being ‘hafu’ (half-Japanese) has meant growing up attuned to nuances of Japanese culture, and with anecdotes about the reception of Metabolism. Following my own evolving understanding of Metabolism 1960 through the study of Umberto Eco and Jonathan Culler’s ideas on hermeneutics, I challenge the existence of a singular fundamental interpretation propagated by prolific voices in the canonisation of this text.

Instead, through transdisciplinary research methods including creative processes drawn from the contemporary works of artists, composers, and poets, I offer a more multifaceted and nuanced understanding of the text. By combining personal experiences and collecting interpretations of the text by architects, this practice- based research liberates a polyphony of contemporary interpretations, suggesting the beginnings of a longer, collaborative process of revisiting the potential of architectural texts.

Paul Tatsumi Walker

Naomi Gibson
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