Modern Japanese architecture, which evokes a sense of delicacy and innovation while incorporating cutting-edge technology, is being appreciated worldwide. Most architectural colleges in India include Tokyo’s architectural marvels in their course, featuring soaring glass shards and eccentric living capsules from the 1970s. Here is a list of 7 architectural wonders that adorn the streets of Tokyo.
- Reversible Destiny Lofts
Built by the architect-duo Shusaku Arakawa and Madeleine Gins, the Reversible Destiny Lofts were constructed with juxtaposing design elements and features, with the aim to inspire optimistic and constructive action. Believers in the notion that death can be conquered through art, Arakawa and Gins declared that they have decided “not to die”. This belief system finds fruition in the living spaces, which are lopsided and physically challenging to live in, as they lead to the apparent “awakening of instincts”, allowing residents to live longer, better, and forever. You can witness these lofts in the leafy suburb of Mitaka, wherein some units are available for short-term rent.
2.St. Mary’s Cathedral
Kenzō Tange has built numerous buildings of significance in Tokyo, but St. Mary’s Cathedral is undoubtedly one of his finest works. Constructed in 1964, the cathedral is a soaring vision of steel-clad abstraction with a glass cross centred on the roof’s apex. The interiors are equally dramatic, sporting cavern-like rooms tinted in red and blue hues. This austere atmosphere is counterbalanced by a huge, narrow strip of stained glass near the altar, which grants an aura of softness and warmth.
3.Prada Flagship Store
Tokyo’s Omotesando boulevard is lined with striking, dramatic, contemporary architecture. Made in 2003 by Herzog and DeMeuron, the Prada flagship store is an asymmetrical facade of green, diamond-shaped glass panels. While there is no dearth of flagship stores that strive to intimidate with their stark interiors, Prada aims to entice individuals and design buffs with plush white carpets and rounded plastic walls. The most striking feature of the structure is the lack of structural clutter, which grants an illusion of immense spaciousness.
- Nakagin Capsule Tower
This residential-cum-office building resembles “a stack of washing machines”. An icon of the postwar Metabolist movement, it is a prototype for sustainability and recyclability in architecture. Each module can be plugged into the central core and replaced when necessary, however, these modules were never changed, hence the building is currently in a debilitating condition. These cramped capsules were originally designed for single businesses, wherein each unit comprises a built-in shower, bed, television, and phone. Go, witness this hallmark of flawed yet visionary realism before it gets demolished.
5.Fumiko Hayashi Memorial Hall
Due to the devastating firebombing of Tokyo in 1945 and the postwar reconstruction, there is not a lot of traditional architecture left in the city, except for one grand structure. In 1941, novelist Fumiko Hayashi (1903-1951) built her home in the architectural style of the Edo era, which has now been transformed into a museum – the Fumiko Hayashi Memorial Hall. This elegant house displays artefacts related to her life and work, along with the lovely and tranquil gardens where Hayashi penned her acclaimed novels.
6. Reiyukai Shakaden Temple
This ominous-looking, oblique pyramid looms over the Tokyo skyline and is made with black granite and crowned with two rings of gold. The gloomy, red-felt lined elevators give a surreal aura suited for a Lynchian landscape, rather than that of a temple. The Reiyukai Shakaden temple was built in 1925 for a Buddhist Lay sect and houses a meditation chamber with a large Buddha statue. All visitors are welcome, and they can avail free Japanese lessons. Also, the temple houses a reservoir with 400 tonnes of drinking water for use in the event that Tokyo is struck by a major calamity.
6. Yuzo Saeki’s Studio
Yuzo Saeki (1898-1928) was one of Japan’s early adopters of a western-style oil painting. Spending his later years in Paris, he painted self-portraits and landscapes in the Fauvist style. His studio is nestled in a small park in Mejiro and is considered a rare architectural find. This wooden building is reminiscent of an American parish chapel and is flooded with natural light that pours in through a large set of windows. This studio has been transformed into a museum of Saeki’s work.
Make it a point to research deeper into these architectural wonders while pursuing courses at esteemed architecture colleges in Delhi – these buildings ooze charm, ingenuity, and static poetry!