When Robin Boyd Went to Japan

Launched earlier this year at Walsh Street House in South Yarra, "When Robin Boyd Went To Japan” offers a unique journey into Boyd's encounter with Japanese daily life during a visit in the 1960s.

The exhibition is curated by Marika Neustupny and Nigel Bertram, co-founders of NMBW and is a joint effort between the Robin Boyd Foundation, NMBW Architecture Studio, and Melbourne’s favourite Japanese café, CIBI. 

While visiting Japan, Boyd wrote about many acclaimed Japanese architects at the time. Specifically, the trip was planned as the result of a commission to write a book about Kenzo Tange. His affinity with Japan grew deeper, visiting again in 1965, writing the book ‘New Directions in Japanese Architecture’ in 1968 and as Australia’s Exhibition Architect at the iconic Expo '70 in Osaka.

 Transforming the Walsh Street House, the exhibition channelled the sense of everyday Japanese life that captivated Boyd. Around the time of Boyd's visits, Japanese architects were gaining popularity internationally, with the Osaka Expo '70 further solidifying Japan as an architecturally exciting and innovative country.

 The topic of preservation in a post-war and rapidly modernizing Japan was another topic that fascinated Boyd. It raised important questions about how to maintain Japan’s unique architectural and cultural essence, while still allowing for important societal and economic shifts.

 Much like many historical texts, many of the questions raised continued to be applied as the world shapes and morphs every day.