Kurokawa, Kishō [黒川紀章] (1934–2007) By Clarke, Neilton
Kishō Kurokawa [黒川紀章] was born in 1934 in Kanie, Aichi prefecture, Japan, and studied architecture at Kyoto University, obtaining his bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1957. Further studies at the University of Tokyo under Kenzō Tange, graduating with a master’s degree from its Graduate School of Architecture in 1959, were followed by doctoral studies at the same institution until 1964. Kurokawa was a key proponent of Metabolism, the Japanese architectural movement that utilized biology as a metaphoric vehicle to reconfigure both the cityscape and architectural practice itself, and which came to attention at the World Design Conference 1960 in Tokyo.
Founding his own practice, namely Kishō Kurokawa Architect & Associates (KKAA) in Tokyo in 1962, Kurokawa’s projects during the 1960s and 1970s were mainly located in Japan. They included the Resort Center Yamagata Hawaii Dreamland (1967) and the Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo (1972), the latter being a key example of Metabolism. The late 1970s saw Kurokawa pursuing engagements overseas, and from the 1980s onwards he consolidated his activity abroad, including projects such as the Japanese-German Center of Berlin (1988), Melbourne Central (1991), the new exhibition wing at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (1998), and Astana International Airport, Kazakhstan (2005).
Kurokawa received numerous awards, including the Académie d’Architecture Gold Medal, France (1986), Richard Neutra Award, USA (1988), AIA Pacific Rim Award, USA (1997), Dedalo-Minosse International Prize, Malaysia (2003–2004), Walpole Medal of Excellence, UK (2005), and an International Architecture Award, USA (2006). Honorary doctorates were bestowed on Kurokawa by Sofia University, Bulgaria (1988), Newport Asia Pacific University (now Anaheim University), USA (1990), Albert Einstein International Academy Foundation, USA (1990), and the Universiti Putri Malaysia (2002). Kurokawa died of heart failure in 2007.