Maki’s Golgi Structures designed in 1968 by Fumihiko Maki was named after Nobel Prize-winner Camillo Golgi, who developed techniques for visualizing nerve cell bodies. The structure proposed by Maki alternates dense urban areas with unstructured open spaces. Encasing the latter are light-absorbing cells that facilitate communication, energy distribution, and mechanical systems.
The Golgi Structure Technical Information
- Architects: Fumihiko Maki
- Location: Japan
- Typology: Urbanism / City planning
- Project Year: 1968
- Images: © Fumihiko Maki
I understand that, today, some developers are asking architects to design eye-catching, iconic buildings. Fortunately, I’ve not had that kind of client so far.
– Fumihiko Maki
The Golgi Structure Photographs
Investigations on Collective Form
Fumihiko Maki in Investigations on Collective Form not only conceptualized the urban form of megastructure but quickly turned to criticized this planning method for its rigidity and monumentality. He opposed it with the concept of group formation. Instead of a static structure, Maki called for a more subtle internal order that underlay the natural evolution of cities.
He distinguished 3 types of ‘collective form’:
- Compositional form (Compositional): fixed relation between preformed buildings. It is based on rules of composition and encompasses the cases of planned cities such as Chandigarh or Brasilia.
- Megastructural form (structural): a large framework that encompasses all the functions of a complex organism or an urban nucleus. It is present in Metabolist projects such as the Agricultural City by Kurowaka or the Tokyo Bay development by Tange Lab
- Group form (sequential): an additive collection of similar units. The stepped villages of the Greek islands or the Dogon villages where time is the key player
In the Golgi Structure, Maki includes communication properties of nerve cells in his architecture. The open spaces provide mobility and freedom for the inhabitants, making them user-friendly and focused on social interaction.
This “High-Density Conceptual Urban Structure” corresponds to a network of circular buildings fanning out variously in closed-off or half-open shapes, accommodating a large number of inhabitants.
About Fumihiko Maki
Fumihiko Maki was born in 1928 in Tokyo and educated at the University of Tokyo (BS Arch), Cranbrook Academy of Art (M.Arch), and Harvard University Graduate School of Design (M.Arch). Prior to returning to Tokyo in 1965 to open his own firm, Maki worked in the offices of SOM and Sert Jackson and Associates, as well as, the campus planning office of Washington University in St. Louis.
In 1993, he received the Pritzker Prize for his work, which often explores pioneering uses of new materials and fuses the cultures of the east and west.