Call for Papers: Docomomo International Conference Tokyo 2020


Michele Racioppi


Docomomo US Staff


Call for papers
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Call for Papers

Docomomo International invites researchers and practitioners involved in the process of preservation, conservation, renovation or transformation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the Modern Movement, to investigate on the theme:Inheritable Resilience: Sharing Values of Global Modernities.

Docomomo International is now accepting abstracts for the 16th International Docomomo Conference that will take place in Ueno Park Area,Tokyo, Japan, September 10th-13th, 2020. Please submit abstracts no later than August 30th, 2019 (12 pm GMT), for one of the 11 thematic sessions listed below.

Sessions will consist of four papers, followed by 20 minutes for discussion. Each paper should be in English and take no more than 20 minutes to present. Conference papers will be published in the conference Proceedings.

Session chairs are not allowed to submit abstracts for their own sessions.

Abstract Submission Guidelines

Once registered, the submission must be done, in English, by filling the following required information:

  1. Title (65 characters max) & Abstract (400 words max); 
  2. Authors information (Name, University/Company/Organization, Country);
  3. Biography (200 words max);
  4. In the “Topics” section, please select one of the 11 thematic sessions listed in which you wish to present your paper;
  5. In the "Additional Info" section, please indicate your phone number and address.

Abstracts should define the subject and summaries the argument to be presented in the proposed paper. The paper’s content should be the product of well-documented original research that is primarily analytical and interpretive rather than descriptive.

Papers may not have been previously published, nor presented in public.

Only one submission per author/co-author will be accepted.

Each speaker is expected to pursue their own institutional or other support to register, and for travel and accommodation.


  • 15 March - 30 August - 2019 Call for papers
  • 30 October 2019 - Call for papers’ notification of acceptance.
  • 30 January 2020 - Full paper submission deadline (1st version) and registration deadline for speakers and session chairs.
  • 10 March 2020 - Deadline for session chairs to return papers with comments to the speakers.
  • 15 April 2020 - Full paper submission deadline (final version) and full submission of the key lecture of the session.
  • 6-10 September 2020 - Docomomo Student Workshop
  • 10-13 September 2020 -16th International Docomomo Conference
  • 14-15 September 2020 - Doco Tours


1. Space of Sports

The city of Tokyo has already hosted the Olympics Games twice. The first Olympics, planned for 1940, had to be cancelled due to World War II. The 1964 Olympics were held during a period of great economic growth and national enthusiasm, and gave rise to the Yoyogi National Gymnasium by Kenzo Tange. In 2020, entering an era of economic maturity, the 32nd Olympic Games will be launched just before the opening of the 16th International Docomomo Conference. 

City and architecture are closely related to sports events, such as the Olympics. They promote the transformation of the city and generate societal changes, relating the values of daily life with economics, consumption and accumulation. 

The purpose of this subtheme is to analyse the transformations that such major events and festivals promote in changing cities and society, together with the meaning and means of preserving sports architecture and facilities.

KEYWORDS: 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Yoyogi National Gymnasium, 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Olympics, Big events and festivals, Mass consumption, Entertainment, Sports, World Cup, MoMo Sports facilities


2. Urban Landscape

The city could be considered the main protagonist of the Modern Movement. The rapid urbanization prompted by industrialization caused many problems, such as the deterioration of sanitary conditions, overpopulation, and shortages of housing and infrastructure. Hence, many architects saw urban planning as a way to explore the ideals of the modern city, sometimes using megastructures, and conducted ambitious practices on both undeveloped sites and existing urban places. To reveal and analyse these practices, it is important to understand the foundations of modern urban planning.
Meanwhile, modern architecture is currently facing difficulties in cities due to speculative urban developments. “Ueno Culture Zone”, where the 16th International Docomomo Conference will be held, has faced challenges of this kind. In order to discuss how to inherit the modern urban landscape, it is important to share practices for the conservation and renovation of modern architecture in the context of an urban setting.

What can we learn from the modern city? How can we develop the MoMo for the city of tomorrow? Can contemporary concepts such the “Smart City” be solutions for current environmental challenges? This session expects papers proposing solutions for the planning of our future cityscape, while preserving the legacy of the MoMo.

KEYWORDS: Landscape, Urbanization, Infrastructure, Megastructures, City, Urban Planning, Industrial complexes, Systems, Smart City, Multi-purpose, Geography, Vegetation, Future Cityscape, Tokyo, Ueno Culture Zone


3. Modern Housing

After assimilating the civilized values of 19th century western culture and the living environment, mass housing was invented in the 20th century. This housing typology is a core idea of the Modern Movement. The relationship between private and public spaces is an essential condition for the development of family and community values. Mass housing became a tool of ideological and political agendas after World War II. The analysis of dwelling conditions implies an understanding of the occupation of space: related spaces, uses, and functions. Addressing the act of living as the main fact of culture, we can find that mass housing reflected an era and a doctrine of mass production. 
From World War I to the present day, housing has been a central programme to the Modern Movement worldwide. Increasingly, we have been facing critical issues concerning the demolition and deterioration of such housing, since Docomomo activities commenced in the 1990s. 

This session is expected to prompt discussions covering the whole range of the history of mass housing in the Modern Movement up to the resilient inheritance of modern housing, considering its production, demolition or conversion, in an era of depopulation.

KEYWORDS: Housing, Mass housing, Tower housing, Population explosion, Depopulation, Density, Empty housing, Conversion, Conservation, Reuse, Lifestyle, Family, Share-house, Modern family, Community, Housing stock, Social capital


4´╝ÄTechnological/Material Legacies

As is well-known, Philip Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock named the exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1932, the "International Style". They thought that the creation of a universal style in architecture without regional differences was possible, using concrete, iron, steel and glass, because industrial technology and products were bringing a new style.

Now we know that modern technology and materials do not necessarily promote a common language. Even with similar materials and technologies, there are many variants in their use, according to region, era, culture and environment, as well as constraints such as those arising from seismic retrofits, the impact of legislation, energy considerations, or local techniques. In other words, one could say that the single and global modern architecture envisaged by Hitchcock and others, actually turned out to be a collection of several different ways of designing and constructing. In the future, as the requirements of maintaining modern architecture increase, it will become more important to share wisdom about local materials and technologies, in various regions of the world. 

Based on this recognition, we are looking for papers on technology and materials to enable the inheritance of modern architecture to be passed on to the future, and give us insights on the debate between universality and diversity.

KEYWORDS: Technology, Materials, Restoration and Rehabilitation Techniques, Construction Details, Seismic Retrofit, Legislation Impact, Energy Condition, Insulation, Concrete, Iron, Steel, Glass, Elevator, Air Conditioner, Neutralization, Curtain Wall, Local Material


5. Regional Timber Structures

Timber structures/construction with wood or bamboo was historically a conventional locally-based method within the realm of traditional culture. However, some early modern architecture was built using timber structures. In the 20th century, it progressed to become a contemporary technology by the application of computational analysis, production engineering, and new contemporary methods. It has evolved from a conventional local material and building culture into a universal technology, that can be compared and evaluated through the application of modern technologies.

Focusing on the relationship of modern technology and specific places, we can see how innovative technology was introduced, learned, modified, established and finally applied in the design of “regional” modern buildings, townscapes, and industry. These processes could reveal fresh possibilities for architectural regionalism, and open mutually-beneficial communication between different locations.
Thus, discussion on timber structures should be suggestive of common local issues concerning the Modern Movement. Papers with a wide and ambitious range of perspectives are welcome.

KEYWORDS: Wood, Bamboo, Conventional Method/New Method, Traditional Culture, Seismic Reinforcement, Fire Resistive, Forest Resources, Greenhouse Gas, Psychological Effect, High Technology for Timber Structure, Propagation and Transportation


6. Pedagogies of Docomomo

Created in 1988, Docomomo International is now a global organization with more than 70 active chapters around the globe and a 30-year history. The coming conference aims to raise its activity to a new level. With this in mind, we are going to look back over the 30-years of docomomo’s international practice and its achievements through its global network, with the goal of overcoming the current borders between education, theory and doctrine.

The vision, activity and spirit of Docomomo must be shared not only with professionals, but also with the broader public, from senior citizens to children, through education and enlightenment. The expertise of professionals may not be enough to effectively record and preserve architecture. How can Docomomo, urgently and persuasively, carry its message beyond the Western world? Is its effectiveness related to geography? What tools are needed for more effective education and training?

KEYWORDS: Education, Training, Doctrine, Enlightenment, Vision, Activity, Information, Record, Preservation, Network, Children, Citizen Participation


7. Documentation and Dissemination

Modern architecture can be experienced not only at first hand, but also virtually, through the media and mass communication: publishing, internet, newspapers, magazines, television, etc. Through them, we can “visit” any building regardless of its location. Photography and video have become partners of architecture. Attempts to formulate modern architecture and spread its theory have been propagated by various forms of media, aiming to expand its values in modern society. 

Some architects only presented their visionary architecture as drawings on paper. We could not understand the work of Le Corbusier without publications about his work, his vision and his books. The process of popularizing modern architecture is critical to re-evaluating its significance and how it is understood, especially from the standpoint of the average viewer. Moreover, we acknowledge that the media have evolved between the 20th and 21st centuries. Architecture, that was initially recorded and represented in literature and cinema, is now on digital platforms and virtual systems. 

This session will focus on the diverse forms of documenting the characteristics of the Modern Movement. The intention is to explore and debate the development of recording and dissemination technologies, from those first used by architects to promote the ideals of the Modern Movement, to those of the present day. Finally, we will learn how today’s media can benefit architecture and society.

KEYWORDS: Documentation, Media, Books, Magazine, Photography, Drawing, Paper, Popularization, Video, Digital, Online, Virtual, Document, Measurement, Literature, Cinema, Promotion, Record, Representation


8. Global / Local Modernitites

A general conceptual structure, such as “Asian Modernism” can be posited. Modernization often worked with globalization, but the way the Modern Movement was appropriated, differed according to region. Modern architecture was mainly established in Europe and the United States, but became widespread throughout the world through a process of modernization, which advocated the rationality and universality of an impending modern society. On the other hand, on the arrival of Modernism, the specific traditions and cultures of non-Western countries often tried to integrate mutually different architectural values.

Even today, after globalization, many regions are still trying to find their unique style for the sake of their identity, nation-state ideals, or their environment. 

This session will deal with the processes of correlation, appropriation, relationship and synthesis between modern architecture and local cultures and traditions.

KEYWORDS: Modernization, Globalization, Appropriation of Modern Movement, Process, Rationality, Universality, Local Modernism, Global, Regionalism, Identity, Nation State, Environment, Original, Community, Religion, Traffic, Trade, Tradition


9. Metabolism Reconsidered

Life forms and living systems have inspired many architects who looked at cities and architecture as a type of organism. Kenzo Tange’s proposal for “Tokyo 1960” is an example of this, in which an urban community generated a tree-like system. The Metabolists, who emerged in 1959, attempted to express architecture inspired by living organisms. Kisho Kurokawa, for example, one of the group’s member, designed his architecture consisting of two parts; a permanent infrastructure and interchangeable cells. The Metabolists believed that a living organism could be a model for a growing city.

Organisms still inspire architects today, even though the notion of “growth” has become outmoded. Instead of growth, concepts with the prefix “re-“, such as regeneration, rebirth, recycle, or reuse, have become the reference for the architects in the 21st century. 

Are the “re-“ movements of the contemporary world making us re-read Modernism and Metabolism? How have cities been transformed by modern architects inspired by the Metabolists? When it comes to designing sustainable cities, what did architects and planners inherit from them? Can architectural and urban systems be adapted from natural systems?

KEYWORDS: Metabolism, Organism, Living System, Restoration, Rebirth, Recycle, Reuse, Regeneration, Renovation, Re-program, Evolution, Infrastructure, Cell, Vein, Circulation, Gene, Illness, Cure, Occupation, Architectural System, Natural System, Functionalism, City Bionomics


10. Designing Daily Life

Architecture is not the only expression of the Modern Movement. Design includes architecture, furniture, products, and everything related to our life. Modern furniture showed us a new relationship between the human body, function and industrial production. The notion of “modern” has permeated people's lives and completely transformed their lifestyles.

The global distribution of modern objects has promoted these transformations. The “Walkman”, distributed by Sony in the 1980s, was exported worldwide. Everyone on every street around the world listened to music through this amazing machine. Not only was the product designed, but the lifestyle around the machine was designed too. It meant that the modern design of the object also became a characteristic of the medium.

This theme aims to promote debate on how the proliferation of modern designed objects took place, and how they have permeated all parts of life, transforming local customs into cosmopolitan lifestyles. To design a house means to design how one eats, watches television and goes to bed. So, let us discuss what the Modern Movement designed. Any perspectives on the issue, regarding ideology, industry, market, life culture or lifestyle, are welcome.

KEYWORDS: Design, Furniture, Life, Lifestyle, Human’s Body, Function, Industrial Product, Natural Design, Media, Cosmopolitan, Fabric, Cutlery, Wall Painting, Graphic Design, Isotype, Diagram, Pictogram, Life Culture, Market, Tokyo Design 2020


11. Le Corbusier and the Question of Cultural Heritage

The sites of the architectural works of Le Corbusier, registered as a Serial World Heritage for the first time in the history of modern architecture, were completed a half-century ago, and attest to the proper internationalization of architectural practice around the globe.

It is important to consider the issues raised by the serial works of master architects of the 20th century, in relation to works nominated as Word Heritage. What kind of cultural transformations were presented by Le Corbusier's works? What was the essence of Le Corbusier's architectural culture and how has it spread throughout the world?

We need to keep asking these questions for the future of Le Corbusier's work as cultural heritage. Therefore, papers for this session are expected to discuss both the physical and theoretical sides, and/or how the communities living around the architecture of Le Corbusier have accepted and inherited his works and theory. Discussions on mechanisms for the international development of the Modern Movement will be held, based on the papers selected.

KEYWORDS: Le Corbusier, Chandigarh, Capital and the Region, India, Tokyo, Europe and Asia, America, World Heritage, Attest, Internationalization, Master Architects, Cultural Transformation, Theory of Architecture, Cultural Heritage, Community, Accept and Inherit