“The Pritzker Prize-winning architect Arata Isozaki has said that Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and Jon Jerde’s Canal City in Fukuoka, Mr. Isozaki’s birthplace, are the two most important buildings created in the last two years.” ––The New York Times
On the surface Jon Jerde in Japan: Designing the Spaces Between is about the making of Canal City Hakata, a large-scale retail/entertainment project in downtown Fukuoka, Japan, and about how such a huge project gets from concept to completion despite differences in time zones, languages and cultures. It is written in journalistic style for a general audience.
On a deeper level, however, the book is about what it takes to create large-scale retail/entertainment projects that will successfully bring our abandoned urban centers back to life. Canal City Hakata is the prototype for projects now on the drawing boards in major cities in the U.S., Europe and Asia. The shopping center, for so long the symbol of the isolating and impersonal suburbs, has been transformed and is now the catalyst that draws people back to the city. This is a trend that is acknowledged by organizations like the Urban Land Institute, which recently sponsored a breakfast meeting on this topic.
An international traveling exhibition called “At the End of the Century: One Hundred Years of Architecture,” curated by the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, includes Canal City Hakata.