Beyond the bubble. The new japanese architecture, by Botond Bognar, a review

Continuing my series of readings with the intent to give it a bit of body, I suggest  this book. It is has been published in 2008 by Phaidon Press.

The writer, says the back cover, teaches at University of Illinois(here) . Every time, you take a book that says New …something and it is dated says 10 years ago, you already knows that , at his best, it can give you some hindsight of what is happening now.

The great merit of this book it is in its short essay.

Mr. Bognar explained very well to me, the crazyness of the bubble era to which, until I read this book, I just heard about but I did not realize exactly how it was.

When he describes the real building of architect Masaharu Takasaki, Crystal Light guest House, built in 1986 and demolished in 1989…it says a lot about the folie/madness of the Bubble and he also explains why. My question, of course, arise: are we heading toward another bubble? Olympic itself is triggering it? Those are not in the book, they are my personal doubts about he current situation while stock market is rocketing…instead the book is composed by 4 sections:

1 – Introduction

2- The bubble years – The epitome of Japanese Postmodernism

3 – After the bubble – New Realities, new priorities

4- Beyond the bubble ‐The Architects

The first three sections are terrific. They are well documented and well explained and if you think that one of the most venerate architects, mr Toyo Ito, has Taichung Metropolitan Opera (Taiwan) mentioned and illustrated, when in reality  the construction just finished last year, you have the idea that even if it is written before 2008 it is not yet a dated book.

At the end of the third section he write a paragraph called lightly “Assessing the future – in lieu of a Conclusion” when it reports words from a philosopher Koji Taki, that basically does not suprise.

The 4th section is a commented Gallery, closer to a well illustrated magazine that sports works from 18 Architects studio such as:

Tele-Design, Koji Yagi, Kazunari Sakamoto, Atelier Bow-Wow, Kazuyo Sejima, Shigeru Ban, Waro Kishi, Nikken Sekkei Ltd, SANAA, Jun Aoki, Ryoji Suzuki, Yasumitsu Matsunaga, Riken Yamamoto, Obayashi Corporation, Yoshio Taniguchi, Kengo Kuma, Tadao Ando, Toyo Ito.

If you do not know half of those people than the book it may worth the acquire or if you like architecture large pictures as well. The proposed works are also well explained in their main features. One merit of the book also is to mention some foreigners who are working in Tokyo competing within the tight market.









Acquarium, Tokyo sea park、Yoshio Taniguchi、 1989 葛西臨海水族園


We spend the evening at the terrace of this acquarium, which incredibly was open untill 8.00 pm two nights in a row within a year!

Let me tell you just one difference with Western world. The potential of this place, in every southern part of Europe, would be stay open every night until 2.00 am with thousands of people enjoying the adorable view of the sea.

IMGP1414The fact that we could drink a beer play with our kid, and having relax time outdoor was only an exceptional event in their calendar. This is not a complaint, is just a wake up call!

We need those places in Tokyo! This is just on the border with Chiba prefecture, and a bit far from the majority of tokyo busy spots, but it is unique. I bet most people would carry the burden to get there.

They did a short pictures show for their 25th anniverrsary. Here the website.

This post follows that one about Kasai Rinkai Koen, because the architect is the same, here their website.

Please check out this enchanting video on the web, better than all my pictures. Here the wiki voice for the acquarium in japanese.

Here below some of my modest pictures, but if you` d like to, there is a professional photographer, Kokyu Miwa, who did it at its best here.

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Kasai Rinnkai Park view point visitors center Yoshio taniguchi 谷口 吉生 葛西臨海公園

Kasai Rinnkai Park view point

It is something merely poetic.

I don’t know if mr Taniguchi has to thank the genius loci or it’s about his attitude however the result it is undoubtedly gorgeous.

It has been finished in 1995. It is 75 metres long x 7 metres large. 11 metres high.

The structure function is a sort of framing the sea, and give importance to the view, wich I believe is something inherent to japanese tradition. That is why something like that astonishes foreigners like me who appreciate the japanese tradition and their linking to our contemporary world more than its opposites.

The park itself contains another admirable architectural structure, which is the acquarium we did not enter this time.

The website of the architect studio reveal to me, he is very good (what  about the renovation of MOMA of new York?) even if he wasn’t included in the book about 24 japanese architects I mentioned previously in this blog. Maybe becaouse his studio address says Austin, Texas.

Anyway we spent a beatiful Sunday over there, in the kasai Rinkai Park, which is not far from Disneyland Tokyo Resort and all of its “fantasy world”. The sea was in front of Us with the wind, my son was running in the grass on the hill slide.

Here some other pictures of this wonderful and rare place in Tokyo.

Every now and then we go to this park. Last time I took more pictures from inside this “Belvedere” and I added to this Gallery below, that`s why I reblogged this post after the first publishing back in 2013.

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