Onagawan Hinterland

James Alder
Political Architecture: Critical Sustainability
1:500 Massing Proposal | 1:200 Circulatory Proposal | 1:50 Final Scheme - Detail Section
Onagawa, Tōhoku, Japan | Post-tsunami Reconstruction | 2016

The project, based within the town of Onagawa on the Japanese eastern seaboard, inherits the political model of the near obsolete FCC; a community-based fisheries management body that held a fierce aversion to both absolutism and contractualism.

This structure informs the design of an academic institute that studies the waning maritime myth cultures of the area, while offering the sufficient institutional leverage for local communities to rebuild in their own terms. Funded by the existing subsidies of the neighbouring nuclear power station, the institute offers a purposely volatile public forum that holds institutional authority to continual account.

The bureaucratic regression into a ‘feudal political construct’ in the aftermath of the devastating Japanese Tōhoku tsunami of 2011, has led to a severe diminishing of democratic accountability within the region’s post-tsunami reconstruction planning, it’s within this remit that the project forcefully intervenes.