Japan Architecture Tours With Robert Day


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Tokyo is a dynamic metropolis where you will find some of the worlds most unique and fascinating architecture. On this show I talk to architect Robert Day about the different architecture styles that are unique to Japan and what to look for if you plan your own trip to Japan.

5 Must See Architectural Buildings in Tokyo!

Yoyogi National Gymnasium

Yoyogi National Gymnasium
Yoyogi National Gymnasium by architect Kenzo Tange.

Also sometimes known as the Tokyo Olympic Gymnasium, this building designed by arguably Japan’s most famous architect, Kenzo Tange is an iconic monument to the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. It is fascinating structure which a unique suspended roof design and subtle traditional Japanese temple references.

National Art Centre Tokyo

The National Art Center
The National Art Center by architect Kisho Kurokawa.

One of my favourite buildings in Tokyo. Designed by Kisho Kurokawa, one of driving forces of the 1970’s Metabolist Movement in Japan, it was the last of his designd built prior to his death. This building is a delight. The waveform façade of glass blades dynamically curves in and out along it’s length. The façade is equally impressive from within a huge volumous foyer with large conical shaped elements housing cafes and restaurants. It is worth a visit for more than the art exhibitions.

Asahi Beer Hall

Asahi Beer Hall
Asahi Beer Hall by architect Philippe Starck.

This is one of the most interesting buildings in Tokyo and a must-see for our Japan Architecture Tours. Designed in the 1980’s bubble economy era, it is surrealistic piece of architecture housing amongst other things, a restaurant. Covered in polished black granite it seemingly floats on a glowing glass block base. The most iconic feature of the building is the sculpturesque form of a golden flame sitting on the top. Perhaps unkindly described as a golden dog poo, this somewhat bizarre design of Starck represents the freedom of expression that architects love about Japan.

21_21 Design Sight

21_21 Design Sight
21_21 Design Sight by architect Tadao Ando.

Deceptive by it’s form, this wonderful gallery is almost inconspicuous amongst the landscaping around the huge Tokyo Midtown project in Roppongi. Entering through Ando’s trademark off-form concrete, one descends the stairs into an underground labyrinth of gallery spaces all of which face onto and draw light from an internal courtyard which also doubles as an exhibition space. A joy to visit for architects with it’s exquisite detailing and perfect construction. Yet another reason why so many architects love Japan and love the work of Tadao Ando.

Tokyo International Forum

Tokyo International Forum
Tokyo International Forum by architect Rafael Viñoly.

This huge convention and arts centre was the result of an international design competition. It extends between Yurakucho and Tokyo Stations alongside the Yamanote Line and houses several large auditoriums, huge exhibition spaces and numerous seminar rooms. The most outstanding feature of the building is the large elliptical shaped glass enclosure with a 220m long truss supported by two columns. It is not just the scale of the 10 storey high space that is impressive. There is a feeling of awe when entering the building an one that I enjoy every time we visit.

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