chapter  1
33 Pages

The initiatives of the government and the industry – 1950–1973

WithShuichi Matsumura

In Chapter 1, I address the first phase of open architecture. This phase can be regarded as the modern era of architecture. It encompasses the sudden increase in industrial productivity brought about by the Industrial Revolution, as well as the creation of the concept of the modern nation and citizen. This is the phase when these concepts distinctly emerged.

The achievements of this era were far from what I would consider “architecture opened to the people.” The goal of this phase was to deliver “boxes” universally, where people could enjoy clean, modernized lives.

In Chapter 1, I consider the spirit of the era underlying the first phase of open architecture, as well as the efforts that helped bring the phase to realization. Due to various historical factors, the start of industrialization in Japan lagged behind similar industrialization movements in Western countries. In Japan, industrialization began in the late 1950s, after recovery from post-war damage ended and Japan achieved independence from GHQ. From then until 1973, Japan experienced a period of unprecedented rapid economic growth. During this period, construction began of non-wooden flats and prefabricated houses. In addition, many local builders transformed themselves into entrepreneurs, designing and constructing houses through UKEOI contracts.