As a concept and as a group, Metabolism came into existence on the occasion of the Tokyo World Conference of Design in 1960 under the strong influence of Kenzo Tange and his chief collaborator Takashi Asada. The original members included two young architects, Kiyonori Kikutake and Kisho Kurokawa, and the architectural critic Noboru Kawazoe; this group was later joined by the architects Masato Ohtaka and Fumihiko Maki.
Their activities ranged from regional planning and architecture to industrial design and various forms of propaganda, strongly affecting Japanese architecture of the 1960s and culminating in the Osaka World's Fair 1970. Underlying most of the projects oF the Metabolists was the pursuit of a dialectic syntheses of the public realm and private spaces; and in many cases these private spaces were expressed as minimal capsules produced by advanced mass-technology. Kurokawa's architecture best typified the Metabolist image, characterized by strikingly science-fiction-like forms. Kikutake's major concern centred on the concept of an archetype of spatial components - as represented by his own Sky House in Tokyo (1959) while Ohtaka and especially Maki were developing the idea of what they called group form - as represented by Maki's design for the campus of Rissho University in Kumagaya (1967-8). A housing project submitted to the international competition of Peru (1968) was the last occasion in which the Metabolists acted as a group, and since the closing of the Osaka World's Fair, when the former optimism about the future of Metabolism began to fade away, their activities turned out to be more personal and multipolar. Kurokawa's concern now concentrated on the co-existence of heterogeneous objects or concepts; in spite of the classicist-like appearance of his subsequent works, Kurokawa maintained that this approach was not an ideological shift but a development of his former Metabolist group-form theory, while Ohtaka adjusted his approach, turning in his designs to the use of a neo-vernacular style.