|Toward the Evocation of Meaning
The Name of the Rose
From Epistemology to Ontology
Will = Text; Toward the Evocation of Meaning
Architecture for Information Society
The Realization of Architectural Works
The Name of the Rose
The title of Umberto Eco's powerful novel is taken from a hexameter composed in Latin by a twelfth-century Benedictine scholar-monk, quoted at the end of the boo: "Stat rosa pristina nomine / Nomina nuda terminus" (The name of the rose is given by God; our roses are roses without names"). This is Eco's contemporary, semiological challenge to the great philosophical controversy of the Middle Ages, the debate concerning the existence of universal natures.
The novel is set in a northern Italian monastery in the fourteenth century. A Franciscan monk, William of Baskerville, arrives at the monastery with his pupil, Adso, to investigate a strange series of murders that has occurred there. As they make their inquiries, they learn that hidden in the monastery library there is a labyrinth, where the second, lost half of Aristotle's Poetics is kept. Aristotle's work is said to teach that laughter is the remedy that prevents us from becoming the slaves of truth (universal being). This is a powerful rebuttal of the doctrine that universal natures actually exist, of Plato's doctrine of ideas, and of the Scholastic philosophy that was the handmaiden of theology in medieval Europe.
The meaning of "catholic" is, of course, universal; the Catholic Church is not simply a congregation of believers but a universal, and therefore sovereign institution that exists prior to and beyond its members. And without the abstract notion of humanity as a universal, the concepts of original sin and salvation through Christ are also inconceivable.
The English Scholastic philosopher William of Occam, on the other hand, proposed that universals exist only as terms, signs that stand for and refer to individual existence. Eco's name for his leading character William of Baskerville is a pastiche of William of Occam and the "Baskervilles" of the famous Sherlock Holmes story. Here we can decipher the intent of Eco the semiologist, with his belief that meaning is invoked as words (that os signs) produce more words (more signs) and interpretations create interpretations.
In addition, Eco sprinkles his novel with metaphorical references to such actual persons as Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, Meister Eckhart, and Arthur Conan Doyle, and quotations from and metaphors to church architecture, philosophy, politics, pharmaceutics, and many other fields of art and learning.
A look at the layout of the monastery depicted in the novel reveals that the church, which os set in the center of the complex, is not the center of the novel's action. The main events always take place in the aedificium, a large castle-like structure located at the edge, the periphery of the complex. The scriptorium, where the story reaches its climax, is located here at the monastery's periphery as well.
In the center of the library that houses the second volume of Aristotle's Poetics, which instructs us to laugh at the universal truth, is an octagonal, twelve-story scriptorium and a stairway with sixty steps connected in labyrinthine fashion. The steps lead to a wall with a hidden door in it, disguised as a distorted, fun-house type mirror and moved by secret springs. The number eight of the octagonal labyrinth that represents the universe is a multivalent symbol: it refers to the eight day, when the universe had been completed; to the last day of our universal; and also to the steps in the sequence of the development of Eco's novel.
I begin this essay by introducing Eco's The Name of the Rose because I believe it is a masterful presentation of the most pressing contemporary issues not only in literature but common to philosophy, architecture, art, and technology. To put it another way, the world depicted in this novel is the new world -- whether we call it Postmodern, Nextmodern, or something else -- to come.
From Epistemology to Ontology
From Greek and Roman times to the modern period, architecture has been created in a search of the answer to the question "What is architecture?" Not only architecture but the epistemological question of what being is, of what the existence of the world is, has been the central issue of Western metaphysics from the time of Aristotle, through Plato, Descartes, Hegel, and the thinkers of the modern age. The presupposition of this epistemological search has been that there is a single and true notion of existence that can be fully described based in terms of logos, or reason. The epistemology of architecture has been that there is a sole, universal, true phenomenon "architecture," which can be comprehended logically by people of every nationality and culture. This epistemology is identical with the epistemology of the Modern Architecture of the modern age.
The sole ideal image of Modern Architecture, the International Style, was conceived as a universal creation that transcended all differences of culture and applied the world over.
What system of values produced the icon of Modern Architecture, abstracted and universalized as the International Style? Clearly, the answer to this question is the values of industrial society, which are based on the pursuit of material comfort. We could just as correctly identify those values as the values of Western society. Here we have a phenomenon that I liken to the creation of Esperanto, which, though based on Western languages, was conceived as a universal language.
But aren't we liable to enjoy a more richly creative world when Arthur Miller writes in English, Dostoevsky in Russian, and Yukio Mishima in Japanese? Then, through the media of translation and interpretation, we can be moved by our readings of the cultures of various nations and participation mutual communication.
Yet the notion of the universal persists. The Cartesian linguist Noam Chomsky postulates a deep structure, a universal grammar, the exists beneath the surface of the various languages of the world. Some, encouraged by such theories, go so far as to suggest that within the heterogeneous cultures of the world there is a deep structure of sorts, a meta-level hierarchical structure common to all humanity, and from that a single and unified notion of existence, of the world, can be extracted.
But this theory of existence by the metalinguists is an issue that is restricted to the context of Modernism, and it has been fiercely attacked by the forces of Postmodernism.
For example, J.M. Benoist, in La revolution structurale, criticizes Chomsky's universal grammar: "We cannot but conclude that the concept of a universal grammar is nothing but the extreme generalization of a particular notion that is specific to Western culture. This concept can be easily challenged by the theory of the relativity of all cultures." The Cartesian definition of substance demands a reduction of reality to an unchanging unit, which is why Chomsky, with his theory of deep structure as universal grammar, calls himself a Cartesian linguist.
The application of transcendent metastatements to the exterior of individual works, the metatheory of an image of existence that is shared the world over (architecture with a capital A) has been the target of criticism from the Postmodern movement. J.F. Lyotard, in his La condition postmoderne, has remarked as follows: "As long as science refuses to limit itself to expressing a simple functional regularity and aims to pursue the truth, it must legitimatize its own rules of operation. In other words, a statement that legitimizes the status of science is required, and that statement goes by the name of philosophy. When that metastatement is based in a clear manner on some grand scheme -- the dialectic of the mind; the study of the deciphering of meaning, the rational man, or the liberation of the proletariat and the creation of wealth -- in order to legitimatize itself, we call the science based on those schemes, those stories, "modern." At the risk of greatly oversimplifying the matter, Postmodernism is, first and foremost, suspicion of these metachema." (English version based on the Japanese translation by Yasuo Kobayashi, Posuto-modan no joken, Seiunsha.)
If we can say that Modern Architecture created a universal icon based on Western culture, we can see that this was very much a metastatement (architecture with a capital A). In chapter 3 of their Kafka: Pour une literature mineure, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari describe minor literature as not only literature composed in minor languages but the literature created by minor peoples in a language that is widely used around the world. In the context of the overwhelming dominance of Western culture and the Modern Architecture of the West, the architecture created by architects who belong to the minority cultures of the world (in which Japan must be included, employing the languages of modern technology, materials, and structural models, can be described as minor architecture.
Culture and tradition are not limited to the tangible. Styles of life, customs, aesthetic sensibilities, and ideas are intangible, invisible aspects of culture and tradition. Japanese culture, in particular, transmits its traditions with greater stress on its mental and spiritual aspects, its aesthetic sensibilities and ideas, than on physical objects and forms.
While Modern Architecture in Japan is extremely contemporary in its forms, it also manages to enclose the cultural tradition within itself. In the same fashion, the city of Tokyo seems to first to be a modern metropolis of no nationality; but actually Tokyo contains within itself extremely Japanese characteristics and elements.
It was the cultural anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss who first articulated the theory of the relativity of culture, stressing the importance of minor culture and the symbiosis of different cultures. By regarding Western culture from the perspective of "barbarian" cultures he relativized Western culture and offered his theory of structuralism.
I call the system of values based on the symbiosis of different cultures the philosophy of symbiosis (see my book of the title, Kyosei no Shiso, published by Tokuma Shuppan in 1987). What I conceive of as architecture based on the philosophy of symbiosis is created by being deeply rooted in one's own history and culture and at the same time making positive efforts to incorporate elements from heterogeneous cultures into the work.
Since no single, universal ideal architectural icon exists, architects must first of all express their own culture. And at the same time, they must collide with other cultures, engage in dialogue with them, and, through symbiosis, create a new architecture. This new architecture must be both local and global. Whether it be a nation, an organization, or a culture, decline sets in once heterogeneous elements are rejected and a path of centripetal development is taken. It is always necessary to incorporate heterogeneous, outside elements and keep shifting the structure of the core.
The presupposition of epistemology is that it is possible to completely articulate a single, ideal concept of architecture through the medium of logos. This logos-centric view is both the tradition of Western metaphysics and one of the pillars of Modernism. The history of Modernism in the West is one of the control and suppression of nature by logos. The city is created by controlling nature, and with the unfolding of modernization, cities that had grown and evolved naturally had to be efficiently reconstituted following a geometric plan.
Architecture was also created as a means of controlling space and demonstrating the rational capacities of human beings. Reason was conceived as the means of controlling and subjugating nature, which was exterior to human existence. And the definition of modern man is one in which his interior nature -- his wildness, his sensitivity -- are controlled and subjugated by his reason.
The great treasure house of nature and those great sources of variety and richness, human wildness, human sensitivity, were rejected by reason, which sought a universal truth, a single, ideal conception of existence. At best, they were subject to control and subjugation.
This has become an important issue at certain times in the process or modernization because the social ideal of Modernism is industrial society, a mass society produced by industrialization. For industry, which aimed at mass production, it wouldn't do for the masses to posses wildness and sensitivity and exist in a rich variety; industrial society sought a humanity with a single, universal face.
Universality, commonality, homogeneity, speed, and efficiency came to be more highly valued than individuality and the differences among cultures and histories.
In an age of reason, science, technology, and economics take precedence over culture, art, literature, and thought. To challenge Modernism and Modern Architecture is to challenge Western rationalism. Contemporary Postmodern architecture has not sufficiently achieved the essential conquest over Western dominance and rationalism. Levi-Strauss' structuralism, which relativized Western culture, is being further developed by the post-structuralists. The deconstruction of the hierarchical model of the tree and its replacement with the rhizome which has been suggested by Deleuze and Guattari and Derrida's deconstructionism are both designed to deconstruct metaphysics (philosophy based on logos) and Western dominance.
The essential transformation that is taking place in the Postmodern age can be described as a change from epistemology to ontology. In his Sein und Zeit, Martin Heidegger writes, "The epistemological question has been whether we can properly describe being. In contrast, ontology asks what the nature of existence is." Existence here refers to things existing as matter: this desk, room, work of architecture, nature. Existence means the being of existing things.
While the question "What is architecture?" is an epistemological one, seeking the right order of architectural being (its single, universal, ideal image), ontology asks the question "What is the meaning of architecture?" In this connection, ontology is linked to semantics.
Ontology and semantics do not seek a single, true order (notion of architecture) in the form of the universally applicable International Style, but pursue instead the evocation of meaning in architecture.
They do not conceive of the existence of a single, true, ideal image or architecture that exists as a truth transcending time, transcending history, transcending the differences among all the different cultures of our world. Rather, it is the differences that arise in the unfolding of time and history that produce meaning. From the epistemological standpoint of Modernism, which asked "What is architecture?" the truth was given a priori, and the problem was how to attain that truth through the power of reason.
It is easy to see that Postmodern Architecture will evolve as an architecture of minor cultures, of heterogeneous cultures, an architecture of deconstruction that seeks to reintroduce noise, an architecture that sets itself off-center. In this sense, Postmodern Architecture is often an architecture of melange, with tendencies toward hybridization. But this hybridization if fundamentally different from the hybrid style that simply mixes together historical architectural style of the past.
Since there is no single ideal architecture, no correct order, architecture does not express a single system of values. It is a conglomeration of many different systems of values, or an order that embraces many heterogeneous elements.
As the ontological question "What is the meaning of architecture?" suggests, architecture will be the stage for the evocation of a variety of meanings. The collision of different cultures, the introduction of different cultures as noise, creates a new culture. this is the discovery and evocation of meaning by means of our sensitivity to differences. In architecture, the conscious manipulation of different elements from different cultures is a means to evoke meaning through difference and disjunction, and in this it is fundamentally different from a simple hybridization.
Eco's The Name of the Rose, which I mentioned at the start of this essay, is brimming with quotations and metaphors and signs. But who would say of this best-selling novel that it is nothing more than a hybrid pastiche, lacking in creativity?
For Eco, medieval Europe served as a pretext to transcend Modernism. All of the quotations, metaphors, and signs of his novel are extracted from the culture, religion, and philosophy of the Middle Ages. His method closely resembles my own, as I have chosen Japan's Edo period (the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries) as my own pretext, from which I have extracted by own quotations, metaphors, and signs.
A hybrid style produced by the aesthetic combination of different historical styles is a clever technique of producing beautiful proportions on a surface level. In this formal manipulation we cannot expect to find the intellectual operation of creating new interpretations of historical periods and cultures and pointing to the future. The indefinite, merely aesthetic quotation of architectural styles of the past clearly results in a contemporary hybrid style of architecture, and because of that I am opposed to this sort of historicism in Postmodern architecture.
We must ask why a particular period is chosen as a pretext from which we extract quotations. For Eco, the Middle Ages in Europe served as the pretext for his thought. The same phenomenon can be observed in many others: for Karl Schinkel, the classical architecture of Greece had a special import as a pretext; for Le Corbusier, the architecture of the Mediterranean had special significance; for Picasso, the primitive art of Africa had special meaning as a pretext.
My reason for focusing especially on the culture of Edo-period Japan as my pretext is that Edo at that time was the largest city in the world, and it produced a unique popular culture. Another reason is that the unique character of that culture resembles my own philosophy of symbiosis. At any rate, for the artist the decision of what historical signs to extract and how to incorporate them in his work is an extremely creative process. There is a fundamental difference between imitation and hybridization.
Modern Architecture has regarded the abstract forms of steel, glass, and concrete in the form of the International style as its universal. The quotation of historical signs and the symbiosis of heterogeneous elements have been regarded as impure, and it has been rejected. But I believe that the presence of historical signs and the symbiosis of heterogeneous elements lend a richer significance to the work. Very few today would argue that a city in which historical buildings are preserved and exist alongside contemporary works of architecture in symbiosis is preferable to the purely abstract ideal city of Le Corbusier or Soares Niemeyer. Nor is it appropriate to dismiss this city in which history and the future exist in symbiosis as hybrid.
Of course, we cannot assume that the ten million readers of Eco's The Name of the Rose have all grasped each of the author's quotations and references and signs. As can be seen from the many different essays critiquing and interpreting the novel that have appeared since its publication, there are many different ways of understanding it. This multivalence, vagueness, and ambiguity will take the place of the universal, and they are precisely the essence of the new age, in which we will transcend the logocentrism of Modernism.
Will = Text; Toward the Evocation of Meaning
I have noted how Modern Architecture, as a Modern epistemology, is deeply rooted in Western dominance and logos. If we are to move on to Postmodern Architecture, which asks ontological and semantic questions in its attempt to create an evocation of meaning, how must we transform the design methods of Modern Architecture?
The basis for the design methods of Modern Architecture up to now has been the a priori assumption of an ideal image of architecture (an order) which is single and universal. This has been known as the International Style. It was believed necessary to articulate this ideal image (order) by means of reason. The design processes of analysis, structuring, and organization were stressed, always pursued according to principles of reason and logic. The final result of the design process was expressed as a synthesis with universal application.
Heterogeneous elements were excluded from this design process, and in each element the operations of introduction, connection, clarification, denotation, and coordination were given greatest importance. Reason and logos were always called upon to controla dn subjugate intuition.
Dualism and binomial opposition are inherent in Western metaphysics and logos: the dualism of reason and sensitivity, body and spirit, necessity and freedom, and the binomial opposition of science and art have dominated Western thought since Aristotle and on up through Descartes and modern metaphysics. In the history of architecture as well, the binomial opposition of reason and sensitivity has always manifested itself in a pendulum phenomenon. The industrial revolution was followed by William Morris's Art and Crafts Movement, which was followed by Art Nouveau and the Jugendstil movements. They in turn were followed by the rationalism of Peter Behrens and Tony Garnier. After the Expressionist and Futurist movements, Modern Architecture emerged, waving its banner of functionalism. This dualistic process of action and reaction has had an unfortunate effect on Modernism and Modern Architecture.
In Modern Architecture, dominated by reason, the wild revolts, the revolts of sensitivity of such architects as Alvar Aalto, Frank Lloyd Wright, Hans Scharoun, Paolo Soleri, and Bruce Goff have always been regarded as exceptions; they have been declared geniuses, and have thus been excluded from the mainstream of Modern Architecture. But their strategies of a revolt of Wildness and sensitivity against the rule of reason is also a product of the age of Modernism. The topic that's on people's lips all over the world today with the advent of the Postmodern age, the new strength of the advocates of sensitivity, of wildness, and the paeans to Guide, are not likely to play any role in the defeat of Modernism.
If we have no need for the one, true image of architecture (order) which has been provided to us a priori, where should we direct our search for architecture? When there is an a priori image of the world, a universal order, it is sufficient for architects to be let by it, to try to approach as near to it as possible. How to ride the flow of that order is what is most important. The architect's talent is the talent of successfully riding that current and expressing his personality in the appropriate manner within the confines of that rational order.
We are living in an age of the transformation or conversion of the paradigm of Modernism. Postmodern Architecture must begin from the expression of the will (=philosophy) toward the changes of the new age. The will, the philosophy that tells us what we should transform and how we should transform it will become the driving force that motivates the creativity of architects the world over. The ontology suggested by the question "What is the meaning of architecture?" of the Postmodern age will be established through the expressions of the wills of this wide variety of people.
The expression of my own will is, as I said earlier, "the transformation of Western domination and logos." and my own will is linked with the expressions of the will that are taking the form of battle lines unfolding on a variety of fronts -- in literature, philosophy, art, and many other areas.
I am deepening my personal expression of the will to transform the dominance of the West and of logos in the form of my own philosophy of symbiosis. The philosophy of symbiosis is the present expression of my will, which I have previously articulated as Metabolism and metamorphosis, and it enables me to search in my architecture for an evocation of meaning. The philosophy of symbiosis is not another metaphysic; I believe it is more accurate to call it the text of a movement.
The text (philosophy) of the expression of the architect's will is, first and foremost, rooted in that person's history, his culture. The architects of the Modern age sought an internationalism, a universalism that transcended their own personalities and regional characteristics. Postmodern architects, on the other hand, must set out from the expression of their own will, deriving from their own history and culture. A keen sensitivity to the differences in history, in time, in culture, will enable them to evoke the meaning of architecture.
Whereas the ultimate goal of Modern Architecture was to achieve synthesis, the ultimate goal of Postmodern Architecture will manifest itself as evocation. As far as the methodology of design is concerned, symbolization will replace analysis, deconstruction replace structuring, relation replace organization, quotation replace introduction, intermediation replace synthesis, transformation replace adaptation, sophistication replace clarification, and connotation replace denotation. These design methods will have a conclusive and important role in the evocating of meaning.
We cannot necessarily declare that these design methods will be carried out more under the direction of intuition than on reason and logos. Rather, we can expect the simultaneous operation of reason and intuition. The processes of symbolization, deconstruction, relation, quotation, intermediation, transformation, sophistication, and connotation, however, depend greatly on a keen sensitivity to differences among times, among cultures, and among elements.
In other words, it is a sharp sensitivity which detects differences, which creates differences. The sharp sensibility is attained through liberating leaps in the unrelenting contest of reason and intuition, thought and action.
The philosophy of symbiosis is a text (a philosophy) for the deconstruction of metaphysics (logos) and the domination of the West. The basic components of the philosophy of symbiosis are the symbiosis of: heterogeneous cultures, human beings and technology, the interior and the exterior, the part and the whole, history and the future, reason and intuition, religion and science, human beings (their architecture) and nature. It is the expression of my will as it challenges Modernism and Modern Architecture and aims to transform their paradigm.
This philosophy of symbiosis takes as its pretext the Insian Buddhist philosophy of Consciousness Only and Japanese Mahayana Buddhism. In other words, this expression of my will is rooted in Japanese culture and is also my own personal identity. I do not regard tradition as being restricted to the transmission of tangible forms; tradition includes such intangibles as styles of life, customs, thoughts, aesthetic sensibilities, and sensitivities.
In the transmitting of Japanese culture in particular these intangibles are stressed. It is possible for us to transmit Japanese culture by injecting it into the contemporary architectural expression employing the latest high-technology materials. It is also possible to represent forms of an extremely traditional nature within the Japanese aesthetic sensibility, among them the absence of a center, open-endedness, asymmetry, the expression of detail, and disjunction (deconstruction).
These elements of the Japanese aesthetic manifest themselves as a sense of balance (an aesthetic), not in the form of a system but when they are disposed as separate elements. We might also say that their special character is that they possess form as atmosphere, mood, feeling. The special character of Japanese culture can be described with the philosophy of symbiosis, which is both a text for the special nature of Japanese culture and a text for the transformation of the modern paradigm.
Mood, feeling, atmosphere can be described as a symbolic order without a an established structure. It is through a variety of dynamic, intersecting relationships and juxtapositions -- the relationship between one sign and other symbolic elements with which is stands; the way the content of the sign changes when it is quoted; the existence of a medium, an intermediating space introduced between different elements; the connotations of the sign; the relations of parts to the whole -- that mood, feeling, and atmosphere are created.
The meaning produced by the individual elements that are placed here and there, and the meaning produced by their relationships and disjunctions, evoke in architecture a multivalent, ambiguous meaning. When this meaning creates a feeling, an atmosphere, architecture contains the possibility of approaching poetic creation.
To regard architecture no more than actual space, a stacking of bricks on top of each other, is to accept the models of the pyramid and the tree. There is an alternative: to consider all the elements of architecture as words (signs), between which new meanings, atmospheres can be created. Since all elements of the work of architecture -- the pillars, ceilings, walls, stairways, windows, skylight, rooms enclosed by wall, entranceways, open spaces, furniture, lighting, door handles, the treatment of the walls -- exist as quotations, as transformations, as sophistication, as connotations, as symbolizations, as intermediations, the solid, substantial architecture, the stack of bricks is already deconstructed.
Another way of describing the discovery of meaning in the intermediary space (vacant space) between elements is to say that we are evoking meaning by setting elements in relation to each other. Pillars and walls, which have only had meaning as structural elements in architecture up to now, can be deconstructed from the hierarchy of structure and given independent symbolic existence.
The four bamboo poles that are set up at the Shinto-style ground-breaking ceremony which is observed before commencing construction have a fictional connotation. The element of their physical nature as bamboo poles disappears and they connote the symbolic atmosphere of the place for the descent of the gods. In his work Le systeme des objects (Editions Gallimard, 1968) the French Sociologist Baudrillard wrote of space enclosed by the elements called things: "Space, too, has a fictional connotation. All forms are relativized as they pass through space. A spacious room has a natural effect. It breathes. When there is a lack of space, the atmosphere is destroyed because our breath is robbed by the things crowded into it. Perhaps we should read a reflection of the moral principles of separation and division in this distribution of space. If that is so, it is a reversal of the traditional connotation of space as a full, existing substance." The space he refers to above is the vacant space between objects, what is referred to in Japanese as ma, or "in-between space." It is natural in the sense that it is what is outside of existents, wild and creating. Unlike a pile a bricks, it does not have the connotation of solidity, of actuality, but of emptiness, of nothingness.
Atmosphere is evoked along the threads of relation that link thing to thing. Baudrillard's theory of architecture brilliantly reverses the epistemology of Modern Architecture, transforming it into to an ontology.
If the pyramid and the tree are models of Modernist hierarchy, the models of Postmodern order are the semilattice structure, the rhizome. The model of the rhizome was conceived by Deleuze and Guattari, and it is developed in their book Anti-Oedipus. The rhizome represents the principle of union and difference, a multiplicity in which relations are possible at any number of points. It is completely different from the tree, which is a model of a unilateral, frozen hierarchy.
The concept of the semilattice resembles that of the rhizome's multiplicity. It, too, is an open-ended order in which different points are continually evoking meaning in their relations. Julia Kristeva describes the meaning of this type of ontological relationship as a polylogue. The polylogue is the condition in which "many different logic, many different selves, exist in different places and at different times." It is "an active, parallel order of things that arise in the process of the evocating of meaning."
In any case, the evocation of meaning is not realized through some established hierarchy, it is an active state evoked in the process of relation.
Architecture for Information Society
While Modern Architecture has been the architecture of industrial society, Postmodern Architecture will be the architecture of information society. Industrialized society promised the masses a life based on material wealth. The mass production of goods in factories was based on the assumption that Western cultural values and ways of life transcended all cultural differences and were universally applicable the world over. The universal, ideal image of architecture in the shape of the International Style also assumed the development and expansion of industrial society, and logos and Western dominance have been supported by industrial society as well.
The collapse of Modernism, the repudiation of Modern Architecture is actually taking place because of the transformation of the paradigm of industrial society. In the most advanced nations, the shift from industrial production to the production of information is occurring with great speed. And, while industrialization has followed the stages of evolution described by the American economist Walt William Rostow, handed down from developed to developing nations, information society transcends economic and technological evolutionary stages and the walls of ideology, offering the possibility for the entire world to move forward at the same time.
Concretely speaking, the information industries are broadcasting, publishing, finance, research, education, tourism, design, fashion, trade, transportation, and the food, leisure, and service sectors. What all of these information industries have in common in that they do not depend mainly on the production or the assembly of things; instead, their products are in formation, information-like added value, and culture itself.
In the fashion industry, the added value of design is worth more than ten times the cost of the materials themselves. In restaurants, the skill of the chef, the quality of the service, and the decor are worth ten times the cost of the ingredients that make up the food served. Even in industrial products, there is a shift from the mass production of modern industrial society to limited production of a greater variety of goods in an effort to produce added value through variety, and the added value of design, too, is stressed far more than it has been in the past.
While industrial society aimed for multiplicity. Universal, homogenized information is of reduced value. In order to establish their own identities, people try to distinguish themselves from others. In this manner, things, people, and society will grow infinitely various. Nor is architecture an exception. The differentiation of architecture will be achieved in the evocation of new meanings, and the evocation of new meanings will bring differences and variety into architecture.
It is mistaken to regard the state of the world of architecture in the Postmodern period as a chaotic transitional period. The appearance of a highly differentiated architecture, the eruption of the evocation of new meanings is the manifestation of the architecture of the age of information society. Differences are created by giving consideration to relations, or by Heidegger's "care" (Sorge). The evocation of meaning through difference will require a keen sensitivity; without that, it will be impossible.
Information society will create relationships in real time around the world through travel and communication. Different languages, different ways of life, and different cultures come directly into our homes through the communications industry and television. This allows for the creation of multivalent meaning that was unthinkable in the age of Western dominance. The changes of industrial society, the transformation of its paradigm of one of an information society is playing a large role in shifting the world from the dominance of the West and logos.
Roland Barthes, in his Mythologies (Les Editions de Seuil), calls this the "age of the power of meaning." Since the age of information society is an age in which meaning will be evoked through differences, it will be an age in which we see a shift from the "syndigmatic" linear, explicit thought patterns of Modernism and denotation to "paradigmatic," nonlinear, latent thought patterns and connotation.
Barthes referred to transformations of meaning or the expansion of meaning achieved through connotation as the mythological function of connotation. Theodor Adorno, the German philosopher, also speaks of the importance of the mythological function (mimensis) in contemporary society. In his Asthetishe Theorie (Suhrkamp Verlag Frankfurt am Main, 1970) he describes mimensis as the "reason of harmony." Je predicts that the unfortunate dualism and binomial opposition of reason and intuition that has been produced in Western metaphysics and has persisted to the age of Modernism, will be harmoniously resolved through mimensis.
Modernism and modern rationalism were given their basic nature through the objective rationalism of Galileo, Newton, and Descartes. The principle of identity, in which there is an objective, universally applicable view of the world that is the same for all people, is epitomized by the drafting technique of perspective, used in architecture and the visual arts. Perspective, which depicts the entire world from a single, visible point, is like the head of Medusa, which turns all who look on it to stone. In perspective, not only is the viewer himself eliminated from the picture, but all that is beyond his line of vision is rejected.
We must abandon single-point perspective and move the point of vision so that it reveals the relationships among all things. A point of view in which the world is seen from the point of things, or people are seen from the point of things is probable also necessary. The point of view of things is point of view of the infinitely varied whole. Modern man, who has depended too much on his eyes to view the world, cannot understand why a person from a "primitive" tribe doesn't wear clothes. The "primitive" man answers: "My entire body is my face."
Recently, in quantum physics the theory of measurement has revealed that even the one true measurement made through scientific processes is actually nothing more than one state which has been accidentally selected, and that selection itself causes the instantaneous collapse of the quantum wave function, rendering the state it perceptible -- that is, measurable -- to us. In fact, all possible states exist at the same time, overlapping each other. This is called the Copenhagen interpretation.
The image of architecture revealed through reason alone, the whole established solely from the point of view of the visible, the single, correct measurement (being) made by science -- is actually no more than a partial glimpse of a rhizome-like multiplicity.
Without a doubt, the architecture of the information society will shift from a paradigm of symmetry to one of asymmetry, from being self-enclosed to being open-ended, from the whole to the part, from structuring to deconstruction, from centrality to lack of a center. It will aim for the freedom and uniqueness of all human beings, for the symbiosis of different cultures, and for a spiritually rich pluralistic society.
The Realization of Architectural Works
The Symbiosis of History and Nature. The hiss of Hijiyama now stands in the center of Hiroshima City, but it is said to have once been an island in Hiroshima Bay. Hijiyama was chosen as the site for the construction of a new symbol of contemporary Hiroshima City, distinct from the Hiroshima Peace Center built after world War II as a symbol of "No more Hiroshimas." After the completion of the master plan for the layout of the facilities and the general design of the Hijiyama complex eight years ago, work proceeded in stages, as roads, the observatory, the park area, and the Aozora Library were completed.
The Horoshima City Museum of Contemporary Art is situated on the ridge of the hill, just a bit off the axis of the Aozora Library. With the eventual completion of a natural history museum and a museum of local history, the Hijiyama complex will become a cultural center that is a new symbol of the city of Hiroshima.
The design of the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art is based on the philosophy of symbiosis. The reappraisal of modernism and Modern Architecture means the reappraisal of dominance of the West and the logos which are part and parcel of modernism. It goes without saying that the cultural references and standards of cultural value of Modern Architecture have been those of the West. The cultural references of Postmodern Architecture in Europe and the United States are also based on the West, and in that respect Postmodern Architecture does not differ from Modern Architecture. Whether we chose to label it Postmodern or Neomodern, the first task facing those who seek to reform Modern Architecture is to transform the paradigm of Western domination. In this sense, my idea of symbiosis with heterogeneous cultures is one transformation of that paradigm.
The doctrine of rationalism and logos meant that humanity (and architecture) were called on to control and restrain the Nature that lay outside. In addition, human reason was to control and restrain the Nature that lay inside -- the "wildness" that is sensitivity. The concept of the symbiosis of humanity (architecture) and Nature is a transformation of that paradigm of the dominance of the logos.
Modernism was also a doctrine of the present, and it demanded a rejection of history and tradition as relics of the past. The quotation of historical signs and symbols was deprecated as "hybridization," and pure, abstract geometric figures were regarded as the triumph of reason. This obsession with the present must also be reconsidered. Yet the method of quoting historical symbols and styles directly, as they are, is especially likely to degenerate into mere hybridization, in my opinion. In order to evoke a more creative and multivalent meaning, a symbiosis of history and the future, the historical signs and symbols must be subjected to transformation, articulation, sophistication, and intermediation.
The Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art was carefully situated on the ridge of the hill to give priority to the preservation of as much of the wooded areas on the slopes of the hill as possible. And in order to keep the height of the building from exceeding that of the surrounding trees, part of the exhibition space was set underground, so that some sixty percent of the total floor space is below ground. Many intermediary zones between the work of architecture and its natural setting have been incorporated into the building's exterior -- a central approach plaza with colonnade, a patio, a corridor, a stone garden, a stairway sculpted from stone -- facilitating the symbiosis of architecture and Nature, interior and exterior. The materials used on the building exterior also evolve gradually, from the natural stone foundation upward to roughly finished stone, polished stone, tile, and aluminum; from earth to sky, from ground to the universe, from the past to the future, all in symbiosis. I have been using this method for nearly a decade, in such works as the Melbourne Central and the Okinawa Prefectural Government Headquarters, now under construction.
The overall shape of the museum is a linked series of gable roofs. It is segmented, a work of architecture that is a village, a group of dwellings; we might call this the symbiosis of part and whole. This has permitted the museum to achieve a sense of scale that does not dominate its natural setting.
The gable roofs are a quotation of Edo-period earthen storehouses, but the use of the contemporary material aluminum transforms that historical sign and imparts it with ambiguity. This is the efficacy of connotation. The central approach plaza is a quotation of a Western city, yet there is no fountain or work of sculpture in its center, indicating an empty center, or the absence of a center. The roof of the colonnade that rings the central plaza is cut away at the font, in the direction that faces the city center, connoting the site of the atomic bombing, and the pillars of the colonnade rise from stones exposed by the blast. Like the roji entrance-way garden leading to a tea room, this approach plaza has no particular function, yet it is an important area in the evocation of the meanings of the symbiosis of history and the present, of heterogeneous cultures.
A Henry Moore arch is set in the outdoor sculpture garden opposite the approach plaza, and from the cut-away section of the plaza, it takes on the connotation of a gun sight that automatically leads the eyes to the sit of the atomic blast.
The approach plaza also acts as an intermediary space between the permanent exhibition space on the right and the galleries for special exhibitions on the left. The circular corridor that links these of a dynamic intermediate zone (and an expectant space).
The stairway that connects the permanent exhibition space with the first floor and the underground level is a sculpture created by Inoue Bukichi, a new experiment in the symbiosis of architecture and sculpture.
The Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art is the first museum in Japan to include works of contemporary architecture, industrial design, and graphic design in its collection; in 1988 it already exhibited the architectural models and plans of Le Corbusier that is possesses.
It continues to pursue a unique collection, including works which it has commissioned from some eighty Japanese and foreign artists on the theme of Hiroshima, and I believe it will prove itself a museum of international caliber and interest in the years to come.
The Symbiosis of History and the Present. The theme of the design for the Honjin Memorial Museum of Art is the Symbiosis of history and the present. As in the Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art, I have quoted the Edo-period storehouse as a metaphor. The pure geometric from of the circle is displaced, and a complex, fissured space has been created for the facade.
The square moat and lattice-style fence that surrounds the perimeter of the building is a suggestion of the ancient Chinese theory that the Heavens are round and the Earth is square. The moat surrounding the building is a sign that this lot was once the site of a moat-surrounded castle. The center space of the interior has a simple two-storey open space, but even this unfinished, and with its wedge-shaped skylight it expresses the absence of a center and a rejection of the universality of pure geometry. By emphasizing asymmetrical forms, the work challenges the centrality of the West and logos.
The basic theme for my prize-winning plan for the New Osaka prefectural Headquaters Complex is the symbiosis of history and the future. Since the historical monument Osaka Castle is located on the same site, the historical signs of its moat, its stone walls, and the castle itself have been quoted as metaphors.
While other designs submitted included twin highrise towers, one for the administrative headquarters and the other for the police headquarters, my plan has only one highrise tower, for the administrative headquarters. The rest of the structure is of medium or low height, in an attempt to attain a balance with Osaka Castle.
Administrative, police, and prefectural assembly blocks, the governor's mansion, a family court, lodging for assembly representatives, a separate administrative block, and a cultural hall are planned for the ten-hectare site.
Geometrical forms such as domes, vaults, four-sided pyramids, triangular roofs, and patios have been employed to symbolically distinguish the different architectural forms. The highrise administrative headquarters block is a three-tier superstructure, which, aside from its own structural meaning, is an allusive quotation of the form of Osaka Castle.
The Symbiosis of Heterogeneous Elements. Fukuoka Seaside Momochi is presently serving as an exhibition of the work of eight architects, but eventually it will be a multipurpose structure housing a branch of the Fukuoka Bank, a bookstore, and an information center.
This is an attempt to allow these various different works of architecture to function individually and, while permitting each of them to express itself in the signs of it own unique form, to forge them into a fluid composite whole.
The exterior walls are made from water polished stone set atop and mixed with natural stone; the trusses are made of wood, and natural light enters from the skylights; all of these are metaphors to express nature. Signs of traditional Japanese architecture are quoted in the designs of the windows and the lattices. The light tower and the expression of the curving walls possess connotations of signs of European culture.
The exterior space is designed to be complex and to create an intermediary space that leads people into the interior, so that they may experience the symbiosis of interior and exterior that characterizes traditional Japanese architecture.
The Shibuya Higashi T Building is a small office building in the middle of Tokyo. The narrow approach hall of this building is filled with many different signs: a metal folding screen, a polyurethane screen alluding to lacquerware, an unfinished concrete wall, and a granite wall exist together. Here is the symbiosis of history and the future, the West and Japan. Though the work is a simple square form, several wedge-shaped aluminum exterior curtain walls serve to reject the universal, the pure, and to cast the building off-center. The roof, suggesting a cross-section of an aircraft wing, is a connotation of flight, defying the building's gravity.
The methodology that all these designs have in common is that the philosophy of symbiosis -- the expression of my will -- is at their base, and they present a challenge to the dominance of the West, of logos, of dualism, and of the universal.
In contrast to the methodology of the architecture of the age of Modernism -- analysis, structuring, organization, introduction, synthesis, adaptation, clarification, denotation -- the methods adopted in the plans I have introduced above are symbolization, deconstruction, relations, quotation, intermediation, transformation, sophistication, and connotation.
Following that method, the signs that are quoted in these designs are situated as free elements, and each person who reads them is free to adopt his own method of interpretation. The aim is not the accurate reading of each sign; the true aim of this method is to permit the various signs in free combination to each contribute to the evocation of meaning, create le poetique, and produce the atmosphere of its own narratives.