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JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

around the world / trips | Date: 26 December 2015 | by

2015.10.05, 10, 11 Tokyo

Architecture is designed in a direct reflection of society. Not only can the features of a society be directly judged by it, but also the tendencies in its development can also be traced by following the change of the architecture over the years; and it remains, fortunately, and whatever historians say, it is visible and indisputable proof. Being an architect just gives you the tools to read it. And that's what a person who has always disliked history and historical disciplines says!

Our walk in Tokyo included several world-famous examples of architecture in Japan. Famous for their spectacular projects, which at the same time, being having a public function, can not escape the need to create a public space too. The first is located next to Tokyo Central Station - Tokyo International Forum

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

When I was a student, this titanic forum gloriously toured all the podiums of the architectural community; to this day it is the largest free-standing glass menagerie.

In fact, the building is a cross between a congress center and an art center or, in other words, an analogue of the National Palace of Culture (NDK) ; the central volume, fully open for passage, is a spindle-shaped glass with a glass roof and an all-glass façade and is one of the most common public places I have seen in Japan.

Probably because the architect is not Japanese, but Argentine-Uruguayan from New York.

In the photos, unfortunately, you can't see the fantastic backbone of a whale hanging in the air over this titanic space - at the moment there is a net with a vague purpose stretched under it; but here you can.

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

The entire length of the spindle can be traversed using two such ramps - one from the closed volume, the other - continuing in the air past the windows; and if you do not suffer from agoraphobia and fear of heights, you can cross the titanic volume of the spindle in the middle using one of such bridges:

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

The glass volume is facing a small green square, closed on the other side of the main halls of the complex, which can be reached from below the square; in fact, it is extremely significant that the square is internal to the building and not in front of it, facing the transport artery. There you would find it if the building was positioned in some Western European capital, in the United States, in Latin America, or even in Australia; but in Asia… it has the usual extras for a square - trees, benches, free volume, allowing the gathering of more people.

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

Only here and there we can seen Japanese crossing it in a hurry…
JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

The whole place smells of Western civilization and stands somehow strange in this place, misunderstood and unfulfilled in its basic design; not that I could guess what a public space that is not alien to Japan looks like or functions.

We continue the pursuit of architectural masterpieces and somehow imperceptibly reach the next - a building that is as important a part of world architectural history as the pavilion of Miss Van Der Rohe in Barcelona.

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

I guess you understand the shock I experienced at the sight of it (by the way, we almost passed it in the dark).

Kisho Kurokawa – Nakagin capsule tower

Would you say who cares about examples of modern architecture, and were they masterpieces? And I will immediately oppose you - the Miss Pavilion is a reconstruction from scratch, that is, a reconstruction that exists because some people have decided that the masterpiece in question is masterpiece enough that it is important for more people to be able to touch its genius; the atomium in Brussels would have long since been destroyed and removed if it had not been magnetic and attractive to the hundreds of visitors to the European capital; on a recent visit to Düsseldorf we had the good fortune to enter two beautifully preserved Miss residential buildings, which now exist as galleries - wow; During my last visit to Copenhagen, fascinated by the story of Arne Jacobsen, I came across a tiny gas station of his (which still functions as a gas station), at the sight of which the image of the Architect from the Ain Rand Spring appeared in my head. The gas station shone with its simplicity and genius. Years ago, as I passed Marseilles, I intended to sleep in Corbusier's Marseille unit, which had been converted into a hotel. It turned out that everything was reserved for months ahead. And believe me, if this jewel had been maintained and operated as a hotel, I would not have hesitated at all when choosing a place to stay during our stay in Tokyo.

I have no explanation, nor can I guess what is the reason for such neglect, especially given the fact that the building is recognized as significant and important worldwide, and Kisho Kurokawa is the bearer of Pritzker; once again, my European nature hits the wall of the Asian way of thinking without the slightest hint of skipping it.

Trying to find this fabulous thing.

Tower of wind – Toyo Ito

In front of Yokohama Central Station, I came across this :
JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

Ahh, the building is there, it's a little difficult to distinguish, because it's all overgrown with trees and doesn't shine at all ?!

We distractedly cross parts of Tokyo heading for our next destination; we pass through a huge cemetery in the center of the metropolis, cut by transport arteries; let us assume that they did not ask to be moved or removed for religious reasons. How then did they pass their way through it?

Our next stop is again among the group of "architectural masterpieces", Kisho Kurokawa

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

My chin sagged shortly after we passed the above sign and remained at a lower dead center most of the time as we bounced back and forth around the building.

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

The entrance! The room in the middle of the huge oval canopy is… an umbrella wardrobe.

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

But, let's go in already!

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

Up, up the escalators leading to the longitudinal galleries, which lead to the actual exhibition spaces

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

This place definitely did not feel like Japan and at the same time did not stand out; on the contrary; the day we were there, everything was open to the public free of charge and we took advantage; The Tokyo National Art Center, the Japanese custodian and distributor of art under the auspices of the Japanese state, worked as intended.

Where is the contradiction?

I deeply believe that architecture in its master-form is art; it is even more art than, for example, the fine arts; because it can flood all your senses, even if you don't look at it purposefully (as in a picture, for example), it can make you feel one way or another, it can make you shiver, it can calm you down, it can scare you , to elevate you, without requiring you to do anything more than just be there. Together with music, it is among those manifestations of human culture that can affect the subconscious level of all humanity, regardless of age, education, race, gender, religion.

Good architecture must be preserved and preserved for generations; as we preserve the Mona Lisa, the Thinker, the Ninth Symphony or Hadji Dimitar

Try to get out of the pavilion of Miss Angry…

Japan is the mother of some of the greatest masters of architecture of our time, six and perceives them as national heroes, and often treats their work worse than a stepmother (about the strange relationship in the Japanese family I will tell you a little further ); Remember Akira Kurosawa - sent into exile and disfavor by the same stepmother?

Strangely known short-sightedness.

We head to the next architectural point in Tokyo, this time a gallery of Toyo Ito.

The gallery is located in a small city park and, like all parks in Japan, it is carefully planned and regularly cared for.

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

Unfortunately, the place is not working, because right now they are changing the exposition and preparing an exhibition of… Frank Gehry!

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

At the end of the park we come across an American open green area (usually known in America) :

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

JAPAN 2015 – 04 Tokyo

The influence of American culture, in fact, can be read in many places in present-day Japan. A strange desire to imitate and blindly follow the models of a nation that dropped 2 atomic bombs over the island?

In Japan, no one talks directly about Americans; no one openly shows a trace of hatred and negativism - the attitude is more like "good or nothing"; at least on the surface; the Japanese prime minister recently apologized (!) to the US Senate for what happened in Pearl Harbor (where the US military was killed); and his senate applauded loudly; I have not heard of any American politician (or non-politician, including) apologizing to the Japanese people for Hiroshima and Nagasaki (where mostly civilians have been slaughtered, and for generations to come) at any time.

Today the Japanese imitate American models.

And "imitate" is the right word.

Until recently, you could be spat on the streets of Japan just because you are non-Japanese; a father with two children in the subway moved to the other end of the car so he wouldn't be sitting across from us; at the same time, countless Japanese restaurants now play Western music and do not refuse tips, Starbucks are everywhere, and the Japanese drink more American coffee than green tea; Japan is wooden and two-story, and city centers are full of skyscrapers and malls.

Wall. Foreign. Incomprehensible.

To be continued…