Avant-Garde Real Estate: Artificial Land in Japan, 1954 - 2000

This essay is an investigation of how four Japanese projects attempt to translate a utopian idea into built reality. While the idea the projects engage is the same — Le Corbusier’s housing concept of “artificial land” — its interpretations in response to extremely different economic realities are themselves highly diverse, perhaps indicative of a concept devoted to flexibility. The projects presented illuminate an imported concept’s particular allure in Japan. But they also offer for export, through the challenges of construction, their own ideas addressing contemporary issues of infrastructure, adaptability, and ownership.

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