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Lecture | Ground Zero: Sei’ichi Shirai’s Temple of Atomic Catastrophes

Publié le 25 octobre 2022 Mis à jour le 31 octobre 2022

Lecture by Thomas Daniell, Professor in Architectural History, Theory, and Criticism, Kyoto University. As part of the symposium The zero degree of architectural writing. Theorizing, drawing and debating the third term. Auditoire Victor Bourgeois, 19h00.

The word yakeato literally means “remains of a fire” (more poetically, “charred ruins” or simply “ashes”), and the yakeato generation is the name given to those Japanese who witnessed the incendiary and atomic bombings during the final months of the Second World War as children, and became adults during the deprivations of the immediate postwar period. During the postwar decades, architecture was the field with the most conflicted relationship to yakeato, given its mandate to rebuild those charred ruins and prevent their recurrence.
Japan’s best-known architectural memorial to wartime destruction is Kenzo Tange’s Hiroshima Peace Museum, completed in 1955, the tenth anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That same year, Kyoto-born architect Sei’ichi Shirai made a tacit counterproposal with his unbuilt Temple of Atomic Catastrophes. A mute memorial to tragedy and an optimistic symbol for the future, the conceptual and formal language of the Temple of Atomic Catastrophes continues to exert an influence the Japanese architectural community today.

This talk will examine the relationship between the writings and buildings of the yakeato generation, and the renewed interest in Shirai’s work following the Fukushima nuclear meltdown that occurred in 2011.
Le 2 novembre 2022
Auditoire Victor Bourgeois, place Flagey 19, 1050 Ixelles
Conférence en anglais