Cuidad, Architecture y Patrimpnio
The increasing influence of international starchitects on the urbanscapes worldwide has been the subject of academic research from perspectives of urban economies (Nueno and Reutskaya, 2009), globalization process Adam (2008) and urban identity (Ponzini, 2012; Klingman, 2007). The long-lasting legacy and positive impact of the Guggenheim museum or the Sidney Opera on their hosting cities continue to fuel academic discussions on the strategic use of architecture as an urban catalyst for social and economic transformation.
Japanese architects usually play a starring role in creating singular landmarks in world cities, stating a disruptive approach to urban architecture combining their unique simplicity and futuristic style. Their unorthodox attitude to deal with form, scape, and technology attracts worldwide attraction and never goes unnoticed rating from ‘mesmerizing’ to ‘ridiculous’. Working in non-Japan cities they deal not only with other construction culture but with a different climate, cityscape, history, even with a different attitude to color, form or sound. Otherwise, they inevitably interpolate their Japanese attitude into this different context.
While most European cities have singular buildings of Japanese artists, there are just a few examples of the Japanese architecture in Madrid. These projects were developed in three different fields: commercial, cultural and social. A thematic floor of the Madrid 5 star hotel by Arata Isozaki (2004), a public garden project by Toyo Ito (2004) and a conference venue by Shigeru Ban (2013) are examples covered by the research. Besides, an unbuilt project for 'Expansion and re-planning of Prado Museum Competition’ made by Arata Isozaki in 1995 is also to be reviewed. Qualitative research methods are used for gathering information and relevant insights.
This paper focuses on the analysis of the initial purpose, real evolution, perceptions and implications of these unique samples of Japanese architectural and design thinking on the Madrid urbanscape.