JAPAN 2015 – 03 Tokyo
2015.10.05, 10, 11 Tokyo
Since I'm all fired up on architecture in Japan, I'm going to continue with some shots from a few different days in Tokyo.
Tokyo, of course, is a metropolis and by no means Japan.
But somewhere between the endless hum of human feet in the streets and the colossal tangle of trains that shapes and holds it together like the skeleton of a giant reclining godzilla, are the same contradictions and oddities that the European eye cannot ignore and give to its grandeur.
STOP 1 - Ginza
It is the oldest and most prestigious shopping part of the city, where lovers of luxury shopping will not be disappointed; here, as well as in the next place we will visit, are located ALL major brands, which of which more attractive, which of which with a more memorable building designed by an architectural luminaire.
Tokyo is a catalog of the modern world architectural guild - literally. The competition in the vision of the stores is not a particularly Japanese feature, but rather is dictated by the colossal crowd of potential customers per square meter, or per square millimeter, to be exact.
33,000,000 human destinies are concentrated in the Tokyo-Yokohama region, or in other words in the Sofia region.
Toyo Ito – Mikimoto
Jun Mitsiu – de Beers
Kengo Kuma – Tiffany&Co
Aoki Jun – Louis Vuitton
студио 8, USA – Gap
Nikken Sekkei – Yamaha
unknown – Zara
unknown – unknown
When you look closely, you realize that despite the relative width of the boulevards - 2 lanes in each direction and 6 meters wide sidewalks - the place is mind-bogglingly claustrophobic because, in practice, the street is the only free space.
If you look at the photos above, you will find a strange minimalistic distance between the buildings, varying between 60 cm and 1 meter. It is also the only place not occupied by buildings in Tokyo; perhaps the place is there for earthquake considerations, otherwise it would not exist, more frightening is that it is so wide on all sides, including the back.
The buildings have a single façade - to the street and it is the only source of natural light and fresh air for the whole building, no matter how deep it is.
An empty, golden plot of Ginza, for illustration:
I have to admit that the "slight" chaos of the build up space (the height of the buildings is, to put it mildly, spontaneous - who decided where) and the nightmarish-looking cracks between the buildings with the routes (including sewerage) taken out from outside, stress me a little. And once again it made me realize how European we are in Bulgaria, how strongly and deeply, though sometimes unconsciously, we are the bearers of what we call "Western" civilization.
Take a look at a Sofia street and, with few exceptions, you will see tidy buildings with a common height, relatively consistent with the width of the street, its importance, and sometimes even with each other. Take a walk in Berlin, Copenhagen or Barcelona and you will observe the same general order and purity of the urban framework on each street, the same, um, public thought of purposeful urban planning.
And urban planning is the quintessence of society in a society - the architectural higher thought of the common good in the devices of our cities, with a forecast for at least two generations ahead. There is no such thing in Japan! Or at least not in the form in which we understand it in Europe.
Of course, there are exceptions - the waterfront of Yokohama, some new examples in Tokyo, most of the work of Western architects, and all of them show the desire to break the sharp border between public and private, which has conquered Japan and which seems to be rooted deep in worldview and culture, to let public life at least a little into private initiatives, to open the air for sociality, to open the spaces that are on the edge.
STOP 2 - Aoyama + Omotesando
Are an area and a street perpendicular to the Ginza and penetrating deep into the heart of Tokyo; probably originated as a counterpoint to the very expensive locations in Ginza, nowadays the area is no less luxurious and architectural.
Norihiko Dan – Hugo Boss
Just next to it:
Toyo Ito – TOD’s
Andrea Tognon – MAX&Co
Jun Mitsui – H&M
unknown – Stella Mccartney
SANAA – Dior
Among the national heroes of Japan (note - Japan has given the world the most winners of the Pritzker Prize - 6, so here the names of the architects are not just known, they are national heroes!) - here and there world greats have also settled down; strange as it may seem, Western architects can be clearly recognized
CDI+ARUP – Audi Forum
MVRDV – Gyre
If you haven't been impressed yet, the attempts to break the sharp line between private and public, you can't help but see it in the "the Swiss corner":
Herzog&deMeuron – MiuMiu and even more Prada, located almost разположени opposite each other
In fact, the glorious Prada building is very impressive not so much for its aggressive and very memorable façade, but for this:
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is nothing! Empty space! Undeveloped! What blasphemy and waste of expensive commercial land! and the only place in Tokyo (which is not a public park) where we wanted to sit for a while, it was possible at all, and somehow we didn't feel stunned and dragged by the general crowd.
And before I left commercial Japan alone to go where the unthinkable is still happening, Japanese public spaces, a frame without words; guess what's wrong!