Walking and the pedestrian environment
August 22, 2006
Skyscrapers of the Future (Tokyo)

Scouting some soon-to-be-new buildings in Tokyo.

Skyscraper futures. Skyscraper future. A future skycraper. A future of skyscrapers. The future of a skyscraper.

What shapes our cities?

A building can be a community investment. A new tower can redefine a neighborhood. A new building can replace a neighborhood. Toppling an old building can remove the definition of a neighborhood.

Future Akasaka Blitz Future Akasaka Biz TowerAt the corner of Hitotsugi Street and Akasaka Boulevard, TBS is reshaping their piece of Akasaka, scheduled to open in 2008. Right at the intersection is Akasaka Biz Tower, 39 floors of office on top of 4 floors of retail and "support" facilities. Across a courtyard will be a 21 floor tower of residential. Adjacent to that will be a 4 floor building housing the replaced Akasaka Blitz Concert Hall ("Live House") and Akasaka Act Theater. TBS has a long history of contributing to the Akasaka community, and even dedicates a section of their website to presenting the neighborhood's hills and alley cats.

Future Condo in AoyamaReflection of Future Condo in AoyamaA condominium tower knifes up out of the low buildings surrounding Aoyama 1-chome Station, along Higashi Gaien Boulevard. It's reflected in the sparkling windows of a building across the street, which has a hole carved out of it and sports a sculpture of two massive owls on one corner.

Future Tower in AkasakaWalking through one neighborhood, you sometimes have glimpses between buildings of changes happening nearby. What is this? How long before I walk over and find out?

Future Tokyo Midtown Future Tokyo Midtown Offices Future Tokyo Midtown SkyscraperOne walk worth taking is south to the new Tokyo Midtown just beyond Akasaka Boulevard, north of Oedo Line Roppongi Station. It's a massive new development with arcades, a classy shopping district, grass lawned event space, a new park, a restaurant building, a "cross function" convention center/office/residence building, a new Suntory Museum of Art, a residential tower, an office tower and a gleaming central skyscraper hotel.

Former Japan ColumbiaThe last stand of the mighty office building for Nihon Coromubia, aka Columbia Music Entertainment. It is built so solid that instead of toppling it or imploding it, heavy equipment with massive claws rip it apart piece by piece. The reinforced concrete bursts in puffs of sandy dust, wafting through the feeble arc spray from a fire hose. Office workers, residents, and passersby - men only - stop for a few minutes to watch the ruthless acts perpetrated on this structure made to survive any calamity. It was such an anchor to the neighborhood that the adjacent road was named after it, Coromubia Doori, stitching together three or four hills named and famous for centuries. What now? A copy cat building to mimic the laughably named Akasaka Garden City tower across the street? Perhaps a majestic, stunning new home for Columbia, to warrant the retention of the street name - an oddity in nameless road Japan? More likely Columbia Way will fade into memory, already mislabeled on mass-produced maps. The name is nowhere to be found on the street. The hills, though, have proud posts with their names scorched on, and they will continue to be remembered with legends about the quaint origins of their hard-to-pronounce names.

Posted by Rob Ketcherside at August 22, 2006 3:06 AM
Lost Seattle
Check out my book Lost Seattle for more explorations of history and urbanism.
These pages are an archive. For my new content, visit ba-kground.com.
Copyright Rob Ketcherside; contact roket swirly gwu.edu