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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Ingrid Mackensen

Japanese Studies
(PhD Students, April 1, 2016 - January 31, 2017)

Architecture after 2011 – spatial developments in post-disaster Tohoku

In my research project I focus on the architectural developments on the Northeast coast of Japan after the earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011. I analyse built and ongoing architectural projects within the post-disaster context in regards to the connection between spatial design and community resilience/rehabilitation.

The overwhelming physical impact of the disaster combined with the problems Japanese rural areas have struggled with since well before 2011 (outward-migration, an ageing population, a shrinking economy) gave rise to a new sense of crisis within the Japanese architectural scene.

Heightened interest of Japanese architects in humanitarian projects had already become noticeable since the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995. Therefore, the „post 3.11 architecture“ has to be brought into a broader historical context.

In Tohoku, architects have initiated a variety of projects that operate independently of the official reconstruction process of the Japanese government. The architects stress the importance of providing adequate spatial means for long-term cultural and economic rehabilitation. Due to the diverse identities and geographic conditions of the affected area, their projects concentrate on an individual, small-scale and community-oriented approach.