Concrete Paradise: Okinawan Brutalist Architecture

March 30, 2022
7:00 pm

Top Image: Photography by @brutal_zen / ©Paul Tulett 2022

Top Image: Photography by @brutal_zen / ©Paul Tulett 2022

Brutalist architecture on Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture was born of necessity, as seasonal typhoons are commonplace and concrete buildings can better withstand severe weather than those made of wood and other natural materials. Today, 90 percent of new buildings on Okinawa are made of concrete, reflecting in architecture the post-Occupation Americanization of Japan. This live webinar explores the little-known Brutalist architecture on Okinawa as part of special programming commemorating the 50th anniversary year of Okinawa’s return to Japanese sovereignty from the U.S. in 1972. Speakers also address the problems of concrete as a building material, considering sustainable strategies such as re-use and longevity while questioning its continued prevalence in building and associated environmental costs.


Paul Tulett, Okinawa-based photographer

Paul Tulett is a photographer focused on brutalist architecture in Japan. His interest in brutalism grew during postgraduate studies in Urban Planning and Environment. Through his Instagram account (@brutal_zen), he aims to promote interest in this previously maligned and misunderstood style. By presenting the finessed Japanese expression of what originated in the UK, Paul hopes that preservation and heritage efforts can be bolstered internationally. His current interests include the origins and ongoing development of concrete use in Okinawa and sustainability issues surrounding this material.

Michael Kubo, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for Architectural History and Theory, Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design, University of Houston

Michael Kubo’s recent co-authored publications on the history of 20th-century architecture and urbanism include Imagining the Modern: Architecture and Urbanism of the Pittsburgh Renaissance (2019), Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston (2015), OfficeUS Atlas (2015) and the forthcoming Futures of the Architectural Exhibition (2022).


Tiffany Lambert, Curator, Japan Society

Tiffany Lambert has held prior curatorial positions at Columbia University’s Arthur Ross Gallery, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York as well as teaching positions at the Rhode Island School of Design and Pratt Institute. Her writing has been published internationally, including in The Architectural Review, Artsy, Cultured, Domus, Metropolis, PIN–UP, Surface, TANK and The New York Times. Her forthcoming book from Phaidon Press examines the artistic philosophy of Japanese designer Sori Yanagi.

Program Details

This is a free event, with advance registration required. Pay What You Wish options are also available to support our innovative programs. The program will be live-streamed through YouTube, and registrants will receive the viewing link by email on the day before the event. Participants can submit questions through YouTube during the live stream.