Komazawa renovation by Azusa Architects Co.

Last week it was the last holiday week before going back to work and I took my son to Komazawa to make a bicycle ride together, I really like that open space, with that gym round!

With my surprise the adult rental was close, so only my son had fun with the children bicycle track. The reason for the closure of the rental was this:

Indoor Stadium

Indoor Ball game Stadium

The architects are the Azusa Co. LTD (株式会社 梓設計) , here their website.

Here there is a link (japanese) that describe in detail the project.

The previous situation was indeed a bit on the deteriorating side,

an old Master management plan for the whole park is reported in this( 25 pages pdf). It was evidently before Tokyo won the bid for 2020, not a mention about this renovation.

My previous post.


a nice facade for a Hospital, Kagayaki Plaza, by Kume Sekkei (久米設計)

kagayaki Hospital

finished in 2013, according to this article, during the Sakura week I was walking nearby.

It is interesting that with the Sakura excuse I was able to go in places where otherwise I would never step. This road was near the Budokan but just a turn that I never took before. (here the address 九段南1-6-10)

There was even a free shuttle to assist tourists…

and you know what, for the first time the people who tried to pass the lines were not Italians…I bet you know where they were from!


Fragment MIB、unknown

It was interesting,I thought I have lost these shots.

FragmentMIBAlthough I am not a big fan of exposed conrete, I have to admit that this result is massive and well composed.


20150221_105216_002it is located in the surrounding of the notorius district of Ikebukuro


AOYAMA (青山) does speak British? McCartney Stella store by Takenaka Corporation


From this interesting link , where different projects are ranked, I discovered that the Design is from Takenaka corporation. It is named also a cooperation with the McCartney store planning Office for the interior. They were wise enough to accept a Japanase firm to sing their exterior.

The dseignof Takenaka  might be a spin off of their previous creative successes, but it still playing well with such wild antagonists (Miu Miu and Prada, read Herzog & De Meuron-)

From the web, it seems during nights it even looks more interesting that during daytime.

IN the same day where we enjoyed the new store of Miu Miu, we discovered many stores that has british brands, taht were not there before. I guess it was a positive effect of the London Olympics, and in general of the increased access to English Schools all over the country. Aoyama is the end of Omotesando, so it is quite the same neigbourhour but it has some up class notes here and there. Like for instance if you, one day want to buy a Bugatti, you have to go up there.

Or there is a Noh Theatre space just few steps from this McCartney store. It has performances only once every month on fridays evenings….so there is also the jazz club, called Blue Note if I am not mistaking the name….and so and so…


Aoyama Store

Aoyama Store


Mitsukoshi, at Nihon Bashi an old Department Store, by Yokogawa Architects & Engineers


So this time is not about the contemporay and probably not all I am writing is totally correct.

We enter this big, well aged building and I wanted to take pictures of every detail.

So I found this historic company of architects, which works also for foreign countries as well (Kenya). Here is their enchanting website with pictures of the building back in 1914!!! It was the first department store in Japan,

The escalator made his debut in Japan with this Department.

It is a place where the upper class goes to shopping, that is what I have been told…and it is what it looks like. The tenin…es, are just amazing …it is beautiful all a round.

Time out link

the heart of Nihonbashi here

main store.


A special normal day in Tokyo. The day of Suntory Hall open to everybody, 30th anniversary.

This Hall (Official web page)is somehow a legend among musicians…since Von Karajan took his role in promoting and even designing it after the berlin hall.  The design process was by Yasui Architects (official web site). It was my first time. I was very excited. The web is plenty of pictures and reviews. Suntory is a huge beverage brand.

Let the video speaks. It was the Sakura Weekend, a special normal day.

Video 1 Arriving

The liine for the free concert on the small Venue

Video 2

The lobby


Video 3, in the hallway,


Video 4

This day children were allowed to enter. Normally under 7 years they cannot, and it is not difficult to understand the reasons, for a place dedicated to classic music.

This day was an amazing concert of cries and laughs, still plentyful of joy. The beauty of the families all together happy to enter for free in such a “Holy” place and listen the real orchestra was overwhelming and undermining the place itself.


Japan – ness in architecture, written by Arata Isozaki, a book review



Since I started to plunge into the history of Japanese architecture after my touristic trip to Nara last year during Golden week, I bought some books I will write about.

I have just finished the first. It has the title of the post, it has been published by MIT press, 2006 and in the paperback edition for the first time on 2011 , translated in English of course.

It was kindly suggested my by amazon.com to buy in addition with a more technical and comprehensive book, called

“What is Japanese Architecture – a survey of traditional Japanese architecture”, by Kazuo Nishi and Kazuo Hozomi, 1985, Kodansha.original japanese title was Nihon kenchiku no katachi: seikatsu to kenchiku-zoukei no rekishi, I will postpone this review since I have not finished yet.

The Japan-ness is composed by a series of essays written by the same author in a span of many years, mainly 25 years from 1960 to 1985.

The book is a must if you are interested in understanding the roots of the metabolism, the reason under Kenzo Tange works and so on. Overall the success of japanese contemporary architecture has its motivation in the struggle of many to during the postwar years which culminated, with the Yoyogi stadium in 1965 by the K. Tange hands.

While it is difficult assess if Isozaki kept his claims over the years it is possible to see an overall position on his stance in the commas. Before that,

let`s look at what is inside.

Firstly there is a persuading historical narrative of how stupid was the West (he does not write stupid, but is a natural consequence from any balanced mind) when he observed the oriental stuff coming from this new opened country. This was the birth of Japan-ness, the title of the book. A gaze from “outside”.

Then many essays are focusing in the years of modernism, how some japanese fertile minds, in particular Tange, Yamaguchi and Maruyama were addressing the problem of style. In those years the german architect – escaped from the brutal Nazis country – Bruno Taut played a paramount role in reading the Katsura Villa in Kyoto and the Ize  shrine with “new eyes” that the japanese would never had. Most of the essays address those two pivotal remnant buildings of the ancient times. How they were read by the contemporaries and how they became a paradigm for forging a national style.

This was part 1, to me a very interesting part since I did not know anything about it.

Part II is about Ise Shrine, famous even to the most mapless of the tourists as it is to rebuilt every 25 years till his foundation. Alone the essay of the description  – chapter 10 : the archetype of veiling – of the Ise shrine is worthy the price of the book!

Part three is dedicated to Chogen reconstruction of Todaiji in Nara and contains a personal apologetical admiration for the Nandaimon (southern Gate),

and an “adult” interpretation of Villa Katsura.

Luckily I visited at least the Todai-ji in Nara, and even the miwa shrine thus sometimes I had a direct experience to understand better what Isozaki was writing about. On the contrary many pivotal examples of this reasoning, like villa katsura and ise Shrine itself are to be visited. In that respect the second book that amazon suggested was very helpful.

This is a book for people who can read essays, who likes to go deep on things. It has also some precise historical references to western building, especially situated in Italy. Palladio, Vasari, Brunelleschi, Basilique in San Vitale (Ravenna) are among the others.

The pros are that gives you a fruitful look at what happened in Japan architecture and what was the prevalent attitude about style and details. On this matter, the last part of the book, where Isozaki compares the various misreadings of Katsura villa is enlightening.

I do not see outback on the book, but the fact I felt that Isozaki himself, despite his deep unraveling researches is still a Taut follower.

pg.242″  The design of the great gate is, one might say, as “compositional”  as Ise or katsura, yet Nandai-mon is unburdened by any superficial or excessive element. What is visualized is principally the load-bearing system that runs through the whole structure in order to make it stand. It is a constructive system that counters the force of gravity. It is this feature of exposed structure that has gained a hold on me”

This feeling, like Taut’s observations on Nikko, is something that could be questionable.