The Committee On Design Conference in Japan begins its first day in Tokyo. Having never been to Japan, I am struck by how much the city appears similar to almost any city in the world, except there’s a lot more of it. It seems to stretch to the horizon without any apparent center core. The vast majority of the architecture is understandably modern. With the exception of the Imperial Palace area, it appears to have all been built from 1950 on. I would be hard pressed to say the city feels ‘Japanese’ but it is distinct in how it’s such a wonderful cacophony of buildings all vying for attention.
Some buildings are beautifully crafted, but they are tucked under a viaduct and mixed in cheek to jowl with everything else. This commercial building with a brise soleil of vertical fins that create an appearance of a white building on one side, transparent in the middle, and black on the other side as you pass by.
I don’t know who designed the buildings and garden below, they are not in the guide books, but they are as interesting as the major pieces of architecture.
Others, like the cantilevered box on stilts on the right (below), are just plain weird. However, one has to respect the design energy. Whether you like it personally or not, you have to respect that each are individuals and someone carefully thought about it.
Jim Childress, FAIA