As of today, over 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and by 2050, this urban population will almost double in size, and 7 of 10 people in the world will live in cities. As cities have continued to grow and expand throughout history, a new vocabulary has also emerged, often to better communicate the scale of urban living in a relatively contemporary context. One such example is the term megalopolis – typically defined as a network of large cities that have been interconnected with surrounding metropolitan areas by infrastructure or transportation. In effect, it’s a region perceived as an encompassing urban area, within which there is a constant flow of commerce and migration.
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“I Followed My Father’s Advice and Did Not Design a House for My Family” in Conversation With Paul Tange
In the following interview with Paul Tange, the chairman and senior principal architect at Tange Associates in Tokyo, we discussed the relationship with his famous architect-father Kenzo Tange (1913-2005; the most influential architect in postwar Japan and the winner of the 1987 Pritzker Prize), the fate of the house Tange senior built for his first family, the decision of joining his father’s practice right after graduation from Harvard, sharing his father’s design principles, and the vision behind his first independent built work – a 50-story Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower in Tokyo, a vertical campus that can accommodate up to 10,000 students; the project won an international competition, in which 50 international architects participated.
The Harajuku Quest, designed by Shohei Shigematsu and OMA New York, represents a renewed commercial and cultural center in the Harajuku district of Tokyo. Located on a site in between Omotesando and Oku-Harajuku, the building is the newest phase of NTT’s “With Harajuku”, a larger urban development that aims to facilitate the flow of people through a series of squares and commercial areas. Harajuku Quest plans to draw people and activities from both Omotesando and Oku-Harajuku and connect the two areas for the first time. Construction is expected to complete in 2025.
From ending up by accident in architectural studies, to eventually falling in love with the complexity of the field and the multitude of its layers, Johanna Meyer-Grohbrügge was amazed by the dual nature of architecture; its intellectual aspect, and physical outcome. Founder of Meyer-Grohbrügge in Berlin, the architect, and her studio seek to spatialize content, create relationships, and find solutions for living together.
“Art aims to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance”, Greek polymath Aristotle remarked. Public art in cities worldwide seeks to pursue this aim by offering a sense of meaning and identification to its residents. Taking the form of murals, installations, sculptures, and statues, public art engages with audiences outside of museums and in the public realm. This art presents a democratic manner of collectively redefining concepts like community, identity, and social engagement.
It is expected that by 2050, the rapid depletion of raw materials will leave the world without enough sand and steel to build concrete. On the other hand, the cost of building continues to soar, with an increase between 5% and 11% from last year. And with respect to its impact on the environment, the construction industry still accounts for 23% of air pollution, 50% of the climatic change, 40% of drinking water pollution, and 50% of landfill wastes. Evidently, the construction industry, the environment, and the human race are facing several challenges that are influenced by one another, but it is the human being who is at the greatest disadvantage.
Snøhetta has unveiled the design of its largest project in Japan to date, the Shibuya Upper West Project for Tokyu Corporation, L Catterton Real Estate, and Tokyu Department Store. The project aims to offer cultural experiences in tune with the vibrant Shibuya district of Tokyo, known for its bustling crowds, big screens, and the crossing in front of the Shibuya Station Hachikō. The 36-story tower will include a cultural complex, retail spaces, a contemporary hotel, and rental residencies.
The Filipinos believe that man and woman first emerged from the nodes of a bamboo stalk. The Chinese view the cane as a symbol of their culture and values, reciting “there is no place to live without bamboo”. The plant is a symbol of prosperity in Japan and friendship in India. Along with myths and stories, strong structures made of bamboo flourished in pre-modern Asia. Built forms varied across the changing landscapes of Eastern countries, all sharing one aspect in common - a respect for natural ecosystems.
Japanese digital consultancy Gluon plans to preserve the Nakagin Capsule Tower Building in Tokyo, one of the most representative examples of Japanese Metabolism by Kisho Kurokawa. The “3D Digital Archive Project” is using a combination of measurement techniques to record the iconic building in three dimensions and recreate it in the metaverse. The tower is currently being demolished due to the structure's precarious state and incompatibility with current seismic standards, as well as the general state of decay and lack of maintenance.
Sou Fujimoto has unveiled a “Not a Hotel Ishigaki”, a new project in the southwest of Ishigaki Island in Okinawa, Japan. The unique tropical resort hotel sits on a circular base open in all directions toward the surrounding natural landscape. The main feature of the building is the undulating roof covered in vegetation. Its shape allows access from the building terraces, creating an inner landscape, complete with meadows, relaxation areas, and a water mirror that reflects the sky and the singular tree in its vicinity.
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