I read on his website he became president of the Japaneese association of architects in 2010. Bingo! We caught a big boss here, mr Taro Ashihara ( 芦原). Just to say and deplore my ignorance one day I will buy a book about his works, here on amazon. There are wonderful projects in his website, even nice exhibitions, and interesting things done abroad. Yes I never heard about him until I came across this work or he is the same who projected the komazawa olympic park?
No he did not project that park but he was working for Yoshinobu Ashihara and I suspect some family relationship (:)). If you can read japanese perhaps in this blog something is written besides some nice shots of the park.
What about this driving School? It has been completed in 1996, and it covers 5915mq. Seven floors are hidden behind that huge red sun. The floor plan is a triangle as you can see from the pictures in the previous Gallery. The Hinomaru Driving School has its own office and rooms there. Inside there is also a Gallery. Is that round stays for a wheel? Is something related to the metabolistic conceptual architecture? Maybe a Cosmic one? Or was the client investing money in a easy advertise for his business since the Buildings surely stands for it? The most logic explanation resides on japanese culture and language where I am ignorant the most. Since Hinomaru is a way to call the japanese flag, which means hi (sun) no (of) maru (round) – 日の丸in japanese kanji – the circle could be read as the red sun in the national flag. Then it comes the balck instead of the white…just like in a negative view and that is where the name come from (Sunburst). Nobody will ever tell you but the architect himself but I guess it is something also political since referring to a national flag…
I guess I have to buy his book to satisfy my curiosity. Some may argue it is not a beauty but I disagree. Big spheric volumes encapsulated in buildings as if they were spacial ships are a recognizable feature of disparate Tokyo architectural works. If you don’t believe me check out Fuji TV building (1996) by K.Tange,
It appears that recently japanese architects had dropped the subject. An american friend commented: “Thank God!”.