Moe Omiya (The University of Tokyo)
Fellow in Research Area 2: "Travelling Matters"
July – August 2020
Promoting Internationality with Locality: 'Western' and Japanese Modernism in IAAJ (International Architectural Association of Japan) Periodicals
This research project at EXC 2020 will explore the entangled history of the IAAJ and 'Western' modernism. The IAAJ was one of the first modernists' circles in Japan, counting nearly 200 members. The project will focus on the period roughly from 1920s to 1930s, which includes the six years of IAAJ's existence from 1927 to 1933. The chief activities of the IAAJ were to issue periodicals – using both Japanese and Esperanto – on a regular basis and to actively correspond with and invite foreign modernists. In doing so, the IAAJ sought to propose “‘International Architecture’ for the future Japanese architecture” to a broader academic and artistic audience.
Through the reconsideration of its key principle of ‘locality’ in pursuit of international Architecture, this project will cover all IAAJ debates as found in their periodicals. These theoretical explorations will be compared with the Association’s actual activities and works on both the local and the international levels.
Moe Omiya graduated from the University of Tokyo's Cultural Representation programme with a dissertation on the Bauhaus movements focusing on the “Haus am Horn.” She also spent one semester studying architecture at Bauhaus Universität Weimar. As a graduate student at the University of Oxford, UK, studying history of art and visual culture, she did research on British and German modernism, with a particular focus on the Isokon Flats London. In 2019 she translated a German book Was ist das Bauhaus? into Japanese, which became the third best seller by the publisher in 2019. For her PhD research, she is studying the global history of architecture, focusing on the late nineteenth to early twentieth century.