Archives for posts with tag: architecture

Ginza is a great neighbourhood to explore in Tokyo. It has a refined, cosmopolitan character with a bright, shiny exterior and old-world soul.

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Tokyo: a vast city, with so many things to see; so much to do. What follows is one of dozens of possible “best of” to do lists for this city. Individually, these places and experiences offer glimpses of Tokyo’s unique culture; taken as a whole, they should provide a multi-faceted view of the city to a first-time visitor.

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A few words of praise: Congratulations to the Japanese athletes who helped Japan achieve its highest ever Olympics medal tally in London. おめでとうございます。

Now that the XXX Olympiad – or London 2012 – has come to a close and the torch passed to Brazil for 2016, the push to secure the rights for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games will no doubt intensify.

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A photographer in Tokyo will never struggle to find an arresting sight or interesting composition to shoot. The photos in this post focus on architecture, in particular the shapes, lines and perspectives that form the building blocks and syntax of the buildings and other structures in the cityscape: cubes, planes, pipes, grids, triangles, cones and ellipses. For a bit of fun, and to add drama and emphasis to the images’ shapes, all the photos have been given the lo-fi treatment with various photo enhancement apps. 

torii : shinjuku

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Tokyo’s once seedy Roppongi district was changed dramatically upon the opening of the upmarket Mori center in 2003, which is not far from Roppongi subway station and has at its centerpiece the 54 level Mori Tower which houses the Mori Arts Center and Museum. At about the same time, ideas were cemented for what was to become the Art Triangle precinct in the Roppongi area. In 2007 the Midtown complex and the National Art Center Tokyo formed the second and third points of the triangle, with the Suntory Muesum of Art and the 21_21 Design Sight in the parklands of the Midtown complex and the NACT by Aoyama Park and Cemetary.

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WIth crowded living conditions in Japan, architects and designers have looked at innovative solutions to the country’s urban design challenges. Since the 1970s when Japan experienced its second baby boom, new ideas in providing permanent and temporary living environments, such as Tokyo’s Nakagin Capsule Tower and the Capsule Inn Osaka, both designed by Kisho Kurokawa, took shape and attempted to show alternative approaches to the design and use of the rarest of Japanese commodities: space.

It’s common knowledge that Japan, with its population of more than 127 million people, is a crowded country. In Tokyo, where conditions are at their most extreme, there are around 4000 people per square kilometer. Space is at a premium. Evidence of how the Japanese approach the design of their cramped environment is all around: from scaled down train carriages with their minimalist seating patterns and assorted counter only dine in restaurants to miniaturized electronic gadgets – the Japanese used netbooks years before the term had been invented in the West – and ingenious storage systems designed for crowded apartments to the scale of the compact apartments themselves.

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Tokyo is a city of architectural extremes that houses some truly sublime works. While there’s scant regard for preservation of the old, the love of the new is evident in the constant renewal of and experimentation in architecture throughout the city. Presented here a selection of Tokyo’s more innovative buildings of the last few decades. Some, like the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings and Yoyogi National Gymnasium, emphasize their form, while many others use light, either artificial or natural, in interesting ways, making for impressive viewing day or night.

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