Yoshizaka, Takamasa (1917–1980) By Robinson, Joel
Yoshizaka was among the last in a series of Japanese architects to pass through Le Corbusier’s Paris atelier. The son of a diplomat, he was born in Tokyo and educated at Waseda University (1938–1941), teaching there until he was drafted in 1943. In 1950, having been awarded a grant to further his studies in France, he began to assist on two of the most groundbreaking post-war projects, the Unite d’habitation and the Chandigarh capitol. During this time he also embarked on the task of translating Le Corbusier’s Oeuvres Completes, and publicizing writings on the Modulor system in Japanese. His return to Japan witnessed a growing interest in urban planning, collective housing, and artificial land. He joined the last meeting of the International Congress of Modern Architecture (Congrès internationaux d’architecture moderne—CIAM) at Otterlo in 1959, becoming a professor at Waseda University in the same year. He espoused the somewhat mystical theory of “discontinuous unity,” which sought to address the chaos or diversity of urban life less dismissively. From the mid-1950s he began to attract commissions, including those for the Japanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (1956) and a number of educational facilities. In these works, he increasingly rejected the pristine internationalism of his contemporaries, pursing more rugged and vernacular approaches, and inspiring the architect and historian Terunobu Fujimori to identify him as the founder of the “Reds” (as opposed to the “White School”), some of whom trained at his Atelier U from 1964.