Tohoku Topo-Urbanism : oblique community form in post-Tsunami Japan
Author(s)Bunza, Matthew (Matthew Peter)
Oblique community form in post-Tsunami Japan
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
James L. Wescoat, Jr.
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Tohoku Topo-Urbanism explores the potential inhabitation of the oblique as an alternative model of community form and resilient reconstruction in Post-Tsunami Japan. In its wake, the 2011 Tsunami left a redefined landscape and enormous questions about the future of people and place. Since then, the Japanese Government's plans for reconstruction put a moratorium on housing in lowland areas, necessitating a new residential geography. Because here, flat land is few and far between, the thesis proposes the notion that slopes become the new geography. Unfortunately, existing plans now result in mountain-top removal and extreme excavation in order to create flat 'buildable' land, and in other cases relocate entire communities far inland. The results can be detrimental to the natural and cultural landscape, and threaten to destroy already fragile communities. Thus, this thesis is positioned as an alternate form of settlement that seeks a balance between productive and preserved landscape, and suggests that development emanate downslope from the hilltop; so that the oblique becomes a vital link between the highland and lowland nodes - a dualdatum reality of Post-Tsunami urban form. The thesis sees the site as both abstract and specific; and asks how an understanding of ground conditions (such as slope, landform, vegetation, and orientation) can inform design. How might topography generate access, infrastructure, and public space? How can landscape experience foster interaction between people and nature? The thesis explores these questions while solving problems inherent in normative methods of slope construction (constraints of economy, constructability, hazards, and mobility) by leveraging gravity, natural energy, innovative material and construction systems, and the power of place. Tohoku Topo-Urbanism lies at the intersections of architecture, human settlement, and landscape; and thus the response and scope of the thesis is both multi-scalar and multi-disciplinary. It operates through policy, an urban masterplan (Chapter 03), and a strategy for landscape management; and finally, explores how architectural building typologies (Chapter 04) might fit within this framework. The hope is that the sensitive inhabitation of slopes will allow communities to remain integrated with existing lowland areas and infrastructure, ensure safety from future natural disasters, while making every effort to foster interaction between the human, cultural, and natural landscapes.
Thesis (M. Arch.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 2013.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis. Pages 170 and 171 blank.Includes bibliographical references (p. 168-169).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology