So we've been here six days now and it's been a whirlwind of subways, getting lost in prefectures, documenting urban conditions, photographs, walking for miles and miles a day and late nights drinking. The wheels are starting to come loose and might fall off if we keep this pace up. Tomorrow's our last full day in Tokyo so we're trying to make the most of it before getting back to LA. We've gotten to see some amazing projects and it's been an incredible trip. Learned a lot of the culture (sometimes through less than desirable and unfortunate circumstnaces) but wonderful all the same.
Moriyama House by Nishizawa was incredible.
You really don't get the full impact of it without visiting. The tight spaces and compartmentalized living somehow manages to work together as a whole. FOA's Port Terminal was also another fun one. Conceptually it's really nice but the experience of the section isn't as strong as I would've hoped.
Still really impressive all the same. Herzog and de Meuron's Prada
is a great building that was much better than I expected while Tod's by Ito was a little bit of a let down. The interior spaces were wholly disconnected from the structural facade and really was just sort of generic. Gyre by MVRDV was a nice building but I think it was a little bit unsuccessful in it's ideas of the spiral circulation. The concept is a bit weak but the building is a nice building itself. Dior was quite nice by SANAA (adjacent to the MVRDV) but some of her other projects are much nicer. Today I saw the Olympic Stadium by Tange which is a really nice project. The structure is really impressive. LV in Roppongi is really nice and it's nice to see ideas in screening actually realized. The effect of the tubes is really done well and is funny as a classmate did something similar last quarter. Ando's Omotesando Hills is a nice project and is similar in concept to what I'm toying with right now but has a lot of circulatory shortcomings. The ramp starts to obfuscate wayfinding. Good to see but I'll have to try to do better.
The meeting on the second day with Yoshiharu Tsukamoto went well. I was quite nervous presenting to him at first and had a little bit of a damp brow through it all. But seeing Atelier Bow-wow was really great and we got some good feedback and discussion going about Metabolism and Void Metabolism and the urban condition of Tokyo.
It was interesting as we've been studying what he coins "Void Metabolism". It's essentially the current generation of relatively young architects in Japan that are interested in the "Void". Though I think the idea of "Void" is a misnomer as it tends to imply something analogous to negative space. It's better described as Relational Space. The idea being that you can use these liminal spaces as a point of departure for your design and really make spaces experiential through the manipulation of these.
We've started to come up with ideas that are generated by the relationship between interior and exterior spaces and respectively to themselves as well. However, Tsukamoto felt that Void Space really was more of a contextual relationship to the adjacencies and site conditions. If it became internalized in architecture, it's hard to bring the idea back to a macroscopic scale and use it as a tenet of a means of practicing.
Anyway. Discussion went well and it was very thought provoking. The next day he took us to Tower House and we were graciously welcomed by the owners who were exceptional hosts. . Again the tight spaces and staggered floors are very successful. It feels good to have ideas validated and to be convinced by actually seeing the projects.
Seeing SANAA's offices was really incredible as well. Good lesson in how an office can be an opportunity to practice controlled chaos. It someways it's the architectural practice equivalent to the chaos of the crowd at the Tsujiki Fish Market. Somehow it all just works though you expect a massive collision to happen at any second.
Too much wonderful stuff to mention and I'm about to pass out after a long day of miles and miles of walking.
Few more photos...
Plug-in infill bldg that I think is really interesting. A little metabolist...
FOA Yokohama Port Terminal