22 Dec 2010


Supreme court of Japan. Okada Shinichi, 1974. A Monument for Justice.

16 Dec 2010

Tour updates 16 Dec

Currently planned tours are:
Setagaya ward office meeting hall - Kunio Maekawa
December 18, Setagaya-ku. Cost¥2000 or  ¥1000 for students. Starting point, Segafredo next to Nakameguro station (Google map). 11:00-14:00. Contact me if you want to join. Architecture by CAT, Koh Kitayama, Kengo Kuma, etc. Morphlogy, history etc. Weather 12 degrees and sunny, updated Thursday.

How is to ride a bike in winter in Tokyo? Not bad at all, it is dry and sunny. The daytime of the tour ensures a maximum of daylight and warmth provided by the sun. You don't need to wear a lot of clothes; but gloves and a jacket is recommended.

The tours will continue next year. At least once week, the schedule isn't clear yet but every Saturday is the plan. Along with weekday tours. Stay tuned...

15 Dec 2010

moriyama house

1) Dismantling. The scale of the neighbourhood.
Moriyama House, Ryue Nishizawa.
The keywords describing the project are from the presentation of this project in Tokyo Metabolizing. This project is a very specific solution to a problem of how to inhabit and how to live. It leans heavily on a number of behaviours only present in this specific context of the contemporary Japanese city.

14 Dec 2010

entrance garden

Every house must connect to a street. This connection must be at least 2 m wide. But what you do with this space is up to you.

9 Dec 2010

Tour updates Dec 9

A tour guide in front of House in Uehara, Kazuo Shino

December 11, Shibuya-ku West 11:00. Approx 2:30. Cost is ¥1000 or ¥500 for students. Starting point, McDonalds next to Komaba-Todaimae station (Google map). Architecture: Shigeru Ban, Kazuo Shinohara, Hiroshi Hara etc. City: River roads, road development, morphology, history (similar to here). Weather forecast 15 degrees, cloudy no rain (updated Thursday).

If you want to join please tell me you are coming, email, tweet or leave a comment. Sadly all bikes are rented out over at Tokyo by Bike, if you want to join but don't have a bicycke I will see what I can to.  More photos below.

blocking plants

What is amazing about Japanese street gardens is not just the amazing care being put into the maintenance but also how flexible they are. The plants move around for series of different reasons, like sunlight, presentation and condition. Here it is impossible to get the car out without moving the plants. Every time you want to take the car for a ride you have to move your plants to the side. The philosophical implications are profound. 

5 Dec 2010

legal buildings

Buildings maximising the possible envelope and FAR. Buildings like these aren't rational as built objects in themselves but in relationship to the limits imposed by zoning law, shadow planes, building regulations and economic pressure for land exploitation. In the end creating unique buildings typical for the Japanese city. Far removed from high-rises developments these buildings provide a sense of place.

3 Dec 2010

guerilla hedge

Outside a flower shop in Shinjuku the boring sidewalk hedge has been attacked by plants.

Towards the cars the hedge is preserved, towards the pedestrians a richer and more varied environment.  Of course the state of things could be prettier, maybe it is because of the season, maybe due to neglect. However the spirit of this urban intervention is full of promise.

27 Nov 2010

hanegi international garden house

Life among trees, luxury designer residences by Kojiro Kitayama + K Architect & Associates, 2007.

26 Nov 2010

sky building - the end is near?

2010 Nov 19

Sky Building Number 3, previous post here, is now wrapped up and ready. I've never taken the news of demolition of buildings from this era seriously. Partly because the Nagakin Capsule Tower always seemed to be under threat of going down. But this wrapping up is ominous.

25 Nov 2010

bottle garden

The water filled PET-bottle functions as cat repellent, to avoid cat pee. Usually only along the wall inline with the streets gardens of Tokyo. Here it forms a field, a cat proof area.
I don't know how effective this is, to be quite honest.

a walk along tamagawa josui

Tamagawa Josui 玉川上水 is an early Edo era water-supply system that still is visible in many places. For map look here to see the full extent of the system. The photos in this post only covers a 1-2km or so of the waterway. But it is an interesting linear feature in the city providing, rich in history and spatial scenarios. Further out west it changes style many times. It disappears under a motorway and reappears with different design. 

17 Nov 2010

Tower House

Due to excitement of this CNN short about the smallest house in Japan I would like to remind the world of this project.

Tour updates 17/11

Due to an unforeseen trip the schedule for the upcoming tours has changed.

The current schedule:
  • November 20 Meguro-ku. Cost ¥2000 or  ¥1000 for students. Starting point, Segafredo next to Nakameguro station (Google map). 11:00-14:00. Similar but not same as Extra architour.
  • December 11, Shibuya-ku West 13:00. Cost is ¥1000 or ¥500 for students. Starting point, McDonalds next to Komaba-Todaimae station (Google map). Shigeru Ban etc. 
  • December 18, Setagaya-ku. Cost¥2000 or  ¥1000 for students. Starting point, Segafredo next to Nakameguro station (Google map). 11:00-14:00. 
If want to join, please send me an e-mail (or leave a comment).

16 Nov 2010

some views

Shimokitazawa as seen from the 5F floor roof top garden of Kitazawa Town Hall. A dense mess of buildings with some cut off for allowing sunlight.

15 Nov 2010

kitazawa town hall

Kitazawa Town Hall - Sakakura Associates, 1990. A complex and contradictionary architecture? Tokyos Setagaya-ward is subdivided into 4 administrative areas, each sub area has its own office. Located in Shimokitazawa this buildings provides a series of programs; public register, exhibition, concert hall, office, bus station, roof garden, parking and so on.

14 Nov 2010

no continuity

A change of tempo along an old shotengai. This house stands out because it brakes the pattern. It is typical but not ordinary.

11 Nov 2010

yet another street garden

A street garden showcasing a series of techniques for a garden in narrow spaces.

kiddyland, Kazuyo Sejima, 2000. Changed to Kiddyland in 2010. From Vitra design furniture to Hello Kitty. Architecture can remain even if the program changes. But can minimalism cope with Hello Kitty?

How it was before, flickr.

Can't seems to find any photos of this that I've taken before. Which is very strange.

sky building number 3

Sky Building Number 3, Yoji Watanabe, 1970. Architecture inspired by a naval ship design.

9 Nov 2010

roads 3 - in change

A lonely house on street where the process of acquiring property has gone far.

5 Nov 2010

the city as light and as built structure

Tokyo from space. Image courtesy of Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center. Image id ISS016-E-27586. North is not up. 

A tale of two cities. One of house and on of buildings. The Chuo-line is the most visible railway line. Some rivers, the dense belt of houses in areas developed during the years of extreme growth in the 1950, the shapes of the valleys to the west. North is up.

4 Nov 2010

Tour updates 4 Nov. Setagaya cycling tour

Zoning map, Setagaya-ku

November 6 Setagaya-ku. Cost ¥2000 or ¥1000 for students. Starting point, Segafredo next to Nakameguro station (Google map), 13:00, about 3h. Projects by Kunio Maekawa, Kenzo Tange, Sejima, Kengo Kuma, Toyo Ito, Atelier Bow-Wow. Some roads. Morphology. Confirmed. Weather forecast says partly cloudy 12-18 degrees, 10% chance of rain (updated Thu). To join, send me an e-mail. More about tours here.

3 Nov 2010

population growth - maps

Density of districts of Tokyo-to (Islands excluded) , based on Tokyo map from wikipedia by
利用者:Lincun, Krisgrotius. Data from Tokyo Metropolitan Government: Tokyo Statistical Yearbook, here. Persons/Km2, colour scale based on logarithmic plot. SVG file available upon request, Creative Commons 3.0 etc.

This post is not really about infrastructure, the series will continue but today I present some maps instead.

2 Nov 2010

roads 2 : variety of change

1 Odakyu-line is for a good part of it route through Setagaya-ku a bridge.  This mega structure is built according to future plans for the city.  So at surprising places the span between the supports is greater than necessary to accommodate the current roads. This is where the future roads will cross the railway, the precise date for the completion of the road widening is uncertain in many cases.

1 Nov 2010

roads 1: Pending change - a week of infrastructure

Notes on a place pending change, the houses are occupying this site waiting for a road project to start.

30 Oct 2010

twelve zones, the city defined - a week of infrastructure

Zoning map above shows the Setagaya-ku which mainly is filled with dense and low buildings (coloured blue). The red/pink shows commercial developments, around railway stations or along roads. Just to be clear, the green areas doesn't imply a park or vegetation. Even if parks can be green in the map.
The Japanese zoning system contains rules about use, floor area ratio, building height, building coverage area and other things. There are 12 zones in total. The maps show the pattern of development of the urban fabric.

29 Oct 2010

constructing landscape - a week of infrastructure

Around the edges of Tokyo Bay[Wikipedia] all land is artificial, if you look at the link you will. This process of constructing an islands and extending land has been going on for a long time, it is used for many different things, Haneda airport, housing, industry and entertainment. But now the end of this process of landfill is in sight. This is the story of island that is supposed to be the last one. This is the sea forest proposed by Tadao Ando, article here.

28 Oct 2010

2 roads: shuto expressway - a week of infrastructure

Shuto Expressway route C2, meets route 4, Shinjuku-line. Above the intersection of Koshu Kaido and Yamate-dori.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway is without doubt the most outstanding and important structure in the fabric of the city. Massive concrete and steel beams support a vast network of roadways that weaves its way through the entire capital, its tentacles stretching as far as the outlying districts of Yokohama, Saitama and Chiba. This traffic roller-coaster flies through and over the cityscape, skimming low-lying rooftops, snaking between towering office blocks and diving into underground tunnels. It adds a further dynamic dimension to the hilly Tokyo landscape, drawing attention to the constantly changing levels and differences between areas, whether industrial, residential or commercial. This three-dimensional, sequential space has no comparison worldwide.
Tajima N. - Tokyo: A Guide To Recent Architecture, 1995.

27 Oct 2010

1 railways - views

Tokyu Toyoko from Linus Yng on Vimeo.

More than just transport and flows, the railways can provide a view of the city in movement. Above a film from Tokyu Toyoko (Tokyo-Yokohama) line by me. Below are pictures from two other lines worth  travelling with for the radically different view they provide of the city.

1 railways - a week of infrastructure

The city as a composition of lines representing railways, subways and streetcars. Tokyo is defined by public transport.

0 introduction - a week of infrastructure

Since this blog started in Swedish once upon a time I will review some of the contents in English. It is copying, but I'm copying myself and also revising the posts a little bit. First out, railways later today.

22 Oct 2010

Tour updates 22 Oct

Meguro-ku, 23 Oct, Saturday Cost is ¥1000 or ¥500 for students. Starting point, Segafredo next to Nakameguro station (Google map). 13:00-16:00. Similar but not same as Extra architour. Weather tomorrow seems to be close to perfect, about 20 degrees, sunny and 0% chance of rain. The cycling tour should take about 3 hours from 13:00.
All tours have been reviewed for contents and shortened to provide more a varied experience of the city.
More info about future tours here.

19 Oct 2010

Running in the city

Plot of distances covered since august, scale in km, from myasics.

There are many theories about running. About where to run, how to run, what to wear, what to eat or drink. All kinds of things. And there many places for learning more about these things.  This is about where to run for long slow runs in Tokyo. For intervals, nice parks or tracks are better. For recovery or shorter runs to options are fewer. But with long runs the possibilities open up, as a non practising road cyclist this makes me happy.
Tokyo is going through a running boom at moment and races sell out very quickly.
Since running is for distance is about distance it is possible to do it by running around in a park or the nice loop around the Imperial Palace. But since I don't live or work close it doesn't make sense. For the long slow run I propose the usage of paths following water. I has the following advantages: almost flat, linear, varying landscapes suchs as Danchi areas, houses, parks and so on. If you want to add hills you leave the path for while and come back. The following paths are mostly useful if you live between west of Yamanote-sen in the general areas they occupy. However, both to the north and to the south there are many different paths that can be used. They all are constructed somehow. More reading about some of these paths.

I you like me don't like to run the same path in both directions these paths have possible connections such as Tamagawajosui to Inokashira-koen and Kandagawa back. The others are left as an exercise for the reader.
Five linear paths I use for running. Screen shot from Google Earth, Google map here.

The different lines show from north to south.

  • Zenpukuji-gawa 10.4 km, 善福寺川, yellow. Flows from Zenpukuji-koen and joins Kandagawa in the west. A big park along it between Kanpachidori an Kannanadori.
  • Kanda-gawa 10.8 km, 神田川, green. Starts from Inokashira-koen and after being joined with Zenpukuji and entering Nakano-ku changes character, here the trail on the map ends. Eventually ends up in the outer imperial moat at Iidabashi.
  • Tamagawa-jousui 41.2 km, 玉川上水, red. From Tamagawa in the east to Shinjuku station. Not a river but at all, but a waterway built to supply Edo with water, work started in 1653. While it follows Chuo Expway and sometimes disappears underneath, is is not always that fun. Also nice because it is at the top of the topography, many nice views along the way. Mostly covered from when it joins the Chuo expressway and towards Shinjuku, but still very nice. An open stretch near Sasazuka and when it goes under Keio-main line close to Daitabashi-station. 
  • Kitazawa-gawa green road 7 km, 北沢川緑道, blue. Very good variety of scenery. A covered river road. Joins with Karusuyamagawa and becomes Meguro-gawa.
  • Karasuyama-gawa green road 8.4 km, 烏山川緑道, orange. A covered river road. Joins with Kitazawagawa and becomes Meguro-gawa. Not fully mapped, continues on the other side of Kanpachidori. 
Before you follow any of them please check the maps carefully, it is mostly very easy to follow them but there are parts when you have to go around obstacles that aren't that intuitive. 
I would like to run the complete Tamagawajosui sometime in late January. Somebody aiming for Tokyo-marathon who wants to join? 
Along Kitazawa-gawa green road.


18 Oct 2010

suginami tour

Plants against a wall. The rest of this post is mere variation on a theme. In it self, this variation, this repetition is what Tokyo is about on many levels.

17 Oct 2010

in Suginami-ku

All maps are reductions. This one has five layers. Water, important roads, railroads, parks and two loops for getting to know the city of Suginami-ku. To find your way in city there are are many way you can combine different features of the of the urban fabric to a linear path leading somewhere, looping around, going somewhere.
Let this be intro for the tour Today.