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Vision for Kyoto in the 21st century
Kyoto, JP, 1997
client: City of Kyoto
team: Güller Güller architecture urbanism, Simon Grand philosopher /economist

Multiple Traditions - concurrent Future
Every vision must engage a city in reflecting about itself (identity), in revising its relation to the environment (orientation) and in developing a strategy on its dynamic in time (transformation). Every vision is paradoxical in itself, at the same time necessary and impossible; very abstract and only relevant if very concrete; conceptual and poetic; pluralistic and focused; diverse and integrated. Understanding this paradoxical plurality and dynamic, Kyoto will cultivate its differences and create a unique identity.

Four (+one) attitudes towards Kyoto form the city of permanent transformation. The vision of Kyoto is realized in a plurality of perspectives on these multiple identities and underlying tensions which characterize the city: four (+one) layers of analysis, four (+one) strategies of understanding, four (+one) patterns of city-structuration. Kyoto and its space. Kyoto and its environment. Kyoto and its tradition. Kyoto's threshold to the metropolitan region. These attitudes open the hidden potentials of the contemporary condition, articulate contrasts and allow for the emergence of something new and unexpected.

The four (+one) attitudes open up and reinvent Kyoto and make it a city of suspense and freedoms, a city which offers opportunities for the accommodation of individual programs and places for the emergence of manifold activities, even if they can not yet be foreseen.

7+1 specific interventions, the 'gates for Kyoto' lead to a concurrent future: on sites strategic for the transformation of the city, at expected centers of activity, or in idyllic natural settings. As a manifold and complementary set of issues they lend a visionary image to the polycentric and non-hierarchical city. The 7+1 'gates' serve not only to co involve the people living in the city, but also to connect them to the rest of the world.

gate 1, Kammus' tree: every year, 100 cherry trees will publicly be planted throughout the city.

gate 3, the line of innovation: a line across the city with special building regulation fosters architectural innovation on the basis of Kyoto's built tradition.

gate 4, blanks - urban pauses of reflection: the voiceless Kyoto, the Kyoto with no visionary relevance gets its own voice.

gate 6, uncensored documentary film festival: a cultural event continues Kyoto's capacity as a city for the respectful and free exchange of world cultures.

gate 8, Biwako-lake, Kyoto's water reserve: projects beyond the limits of Kyoto may prove of utmost importance for the city's future development.

A step ahead, a step beyond its own shadow, cast over its intrinsic evolutionary potentials, takes Kyoto into a concurrent future.

It is a vision on a polycentric city which is open for the unexpected, offering multifaceted niches for identification. Its multiple identities engage in the interface to cities in the region and worldwide. It envisions a Kyoto where nature coexists with and inside the cityscape.

It is a vision for the people, involving and guiding their energies into the making of the city of permanent transformation - participation as the foundation of a culture of communication, replacing prejudices by creativity. It encourages the coexistence of multiple identities and gives voice to the manifold interests.

The project raises its voice for a planning culture which orchestrates and stimulates urban processes, allowing for the merge of both latent and contemporary as well as discreet, hidden and neglected potentials: determination while leaing in abeyance and allowing for improvisation. It cultivates, sustains and interrelates polarities within the city of Kyoto and with respect to its metropolitan environment.

Kyoto can reassume its capacity to integrate, amalgamate, and to be a breeding place; it can gain personal objectivity in seeing, reflecting and propelling itself.