Riken Yamamoto


Principal and Founder

How to make a City

August 17, 2018
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The twentieth-century city was not conceived as a city in which to dwell. Its center was intended for promoting economic activities. Commercial facilities assigned to the city center and residential areas pushed to the periphery have created the most broadly shared image of the modern city.

In such an arrangement, each dwelling is extremely isolated. The cause for this isolation is rather simple. Each dwelling is treated as a highly independent constituent unit. In other words, each dwelling has no correlation with other dwellings. That is its basic composition. Dwellings that have no correlation between each other fail to develop any particular housing configuration. Thus, such dwellings do not constitute a ‘collective form’.

We are yet to discover a set of principles with which to dwell in the city. Neither have we invented ‘spaces’ for city dwellers, who are,in fact, the protagonists of the city. The city is essentially a place in which to dwell. If so, what means are available to us in order to restructure the city into a habitable place? How shall each dwelling relate to others? What kind of community systems can be adopted? What are the roles of children and the elderly as city dwellers? What kind of support facilities do city dwellers require? And so on, and so forth.

What kind of basic amenities and infrastructure support the lives of city dwellers? Such amenities and infrastructure must be considered within specific spatial contexts. These considerations lead to a concept we call ‘community area’.

Riken Yamamoto is the Principal and Founder of Riken Yamamoto & Fieldshop, an internationally recognised firm in Japan. He graduated from Nihon University in 1968 and was awarded Master of Architecture degree from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. He has served as a Professor at Kogakuin University and Yokohama National University. He currently serves as the President of Nagoya Zokei University of the Arts and Design. He has been a recipient of many prestigious awards for his work like Highrise Awards for Jian Wai Soho, Beijing China , First Prize for Pan-Gyo Housing International Competition by Invitataion, Seongnam, Korea (2006) and many more. His recent publications include The Space of Power | The Power of the Space (2015), De-housing (co-author, 2018).