As a continuation of Arakawa and Madeline Gins’ collaboration from the Mechanism of Meaning series, the two began a development of the concept of “Reversible Destiny,” which was later introduced in their 1997 Guggenheim exhibition. The early installations and architectural models reveal Arakawa’s gradual movement away from painting and transition towards architecture. 

Arakawa + Gins believed that changes in bodily perception would lead to changes in consciousness, and so the perceiver’s interaction with his or her surroundings increasingly became the focus their exploration. The experimental projects took the form of installations, and architectural models including the Bridge of Reversible Destiny, Perceptual Landing Sites, Ubiquitous Site X. These works expand in scale over time, encompassing more of the viewer’s range of perception, and begin to engage with the body more directly.

These experiments eventually formed the basis of what became known as procedural architecture, outlined in their book “Architectural Body” (University of Alabama press) published in 2002, which puts forth a method for architecture that can ‘reverse our destinies’. Here, Arakawa and Gins questions ‘the attitude of pursuing comfort blindly’, and suggests that the built environment around us should constantly challenge and surprise our senses. We are invited to question everything around ourselves, even mortality itself.

Built works of procedural architecture include:

 Ubiquitous Site*Nagi’s Ryoangi*Architectural Body, Site of Reversible Destiny – Yoro, Reversible Destiny Lofts – Mitaka, Bioscleave House (Lifespan Extending Villa), and the Biotopological scale-juggling escalator. 



“Death is old fashioned”. After a the Mechanism of Meaning, Arakawa pursued with Madeline vigorously and with persistence the realization of the concept of “reversible destiny”. In 2002, they published the book “Architectural Body”, (University of Alabama press), which outlines their


The body. There is a natural progression of the work that increases in scale and begins to engage with the body more directly. From the diagrams to the mechanism of meaning, the work increasingly encompasses more of the viewer’s range of perception. Eventually this moves towards an architectural scale. The early experiments (such as…) invite viewers to step onto panels, interact with or move through a structure. Eventually these works begin to exist in the form of architectural models and proposals


While expanding their work philosophically, the medium also expands in scale in order to grow its impact on the viewer. The concept of Reversible Destiny demanded a heightened attention of the audience, so much that he or she is completely submerged, or living in it. Procedural architecture –  a method to realize their visionary concept of reversible destiny, in which architecture and the built environment became a means to transform one’s daily life. To question everything around oneself, even the biggest ‘given’ – questioning mortality and offering the possibility of reversing one’s destiny

“A frontal attack on death itself”



• The Process in Question/Bridge of Reversible Destiny, 1973-89

• Perceptual Landing Sites 3, 1979-89

• Reversible Destiny Healing Fun House

 Sensorium City, Tokyo Bay

 City Without Graveyards

• Museum of Living Bodies