My photo in the Royal Academy of Arts

MJG Architecture, Japan 3 Comments

Two of my Tokyo architecture photos are currently on display in the Royal Academy of Arts, in London. They are part of an exhibition entitled Weird, Wacky and Wonderful in the Architecture space. That is pretty cool. I was contacted a month or so back about the exhibition- with regard to this funky Gundam building in Shibuya: It’s actually part …

Tokyo’s Urban Battleship

MJG Architecture, Featured Story, Haikyo, Japan, Residential, Tokyo-to 15 Comments

Tokyo’s urban battleship glides through the ever-changing cityscape like a predatory shark- its mad crescent fin stocked with slate-grey torpedoes and radar foils- hunting out fresh prey for the saw-blade teeth ratcheted down its flat-iron side. Built in 1970 by the retired Imperial Navy general Watanabe Youji, the urban battleship building (GUNKAN) was apparently inspired by a World War 2 …

Sensouji Temple, Asakusa

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Ages ago now I went to Sensouji Temple for some reason, I can’t really remember. SY and I were doing a bit of Tokyo tourism I guess. I prepped these photos months ago but never got round to posting them, so here they are. If you like looking at shrines, you might enjoy these.

Belly of the Whale – Yurakucho Forum

MJG Architecture, Japan 5 Comments

I’ve wanted to shoot the interior of the Yurakucho International Forum for some time, but only now got round to doing it- pushed ahead by a meeting with international jet-setter and club photographer Joshua Dearing. We did a photowalk around the structure, then through Ginza, finishing up in the big Starbucks where we talked plenty about extending life and Apple’s …

Kabuki-za, Kyobashi

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The Kabuki-za is a fancy-pants theater in Ginza for the screening of Kabuki- a highly stylized and traditional (read ‘boring to most people’) form of storied stage performance. The Kabuki-za is famous as the principal theater for this kind of show in Tokyo- with a long and varied history dating all the way back to 1924.

Shizuoka Shimbun Building, Shimbashi

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The headquarters of the Shizuoka newspaper in Shimbashi, Tokyo, is another Kenzo Tange building- he of Fuji Terebi and the Tocho. It resembles nothing so much as a giant mutated baobab tree, vivid rust-colored and sprouting fat boughs that elide in stubby endings, on one side its groping knubs reaching out to latch onto the closest building.

Gundam Building, Shibuya

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The Gundam building in Shibuya rests on its axled haunches like the ultimate guard-dog, anxiously awaiting the day it will be called into service to leap-frog into battle to protect its city, tackling Mothra or some other evil invading alien with its fire-eyes and laser tail. It also keeps a close eye on those ‘satellites’ launched out of North Korea, …

Asahi Flame, Asakusa

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The Asahi ‘Flame’ building on the Asakusa banks of the Sumida river is infamous in Tokyo for its eponymous ‘flame’, a huge golden piece of art juxtaposed atop the obelisk-like black building; intended to represent the freedom and grace of a good head of foam on a glass of Asahi beer. It has however been dubbed by many the ‘flying …

Tokyo Big Sight, Odaiba

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Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba is one of the biggest exhibition spaces in Tokyo, featuring two huge halls East and West plus several conference rooms and a 1,100 seater auditorium in the main building- which is curiously shaped out of four upside-down pyramids. Why is it shaped out of four upside-down pyramids? Nobody knows. I suppose this is another case …

The National Art Center, Roppongi

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The National Art Center in Roppongi is a funky-chic blend of high-tech glass panelling with a utilitarian ethos that denies the standard limitations of space. The exterior ripples like a breaking wave, its sliced-and-diced stylings constantly catching refractions from the sun, remaking its contours in blotches of dizzying light.  Inside there are islands of cone-shaped concrete capped with coffee shops …

DoCoMo Tower, Shinjuku

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The Docomo Tower in Shinjuku soars over the Southern exit / Yoyogi area like a great pink middle finger, thumbing its nose at the graceless cluster-bomb mess of old-modern Shinjuku with its super-sleek lines, haute-couture design domination, and clean parallels to other auspicious buildings like Big Ben and the Empire State Building. At 492 feet high, it houses 28 stories …

Edo-Tokyo Museum, Ryogoku

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The Edo-Tokyo Museum in Ryogoku is one of the ugliest and most pointless buildings I’ve yet seen in Tokyo. A giant clunky trapezoid on 4 legs in grey concrete, fissured with juts and wedges and all manner of go-faster stripes, layered with a shrine-like blocky hat, faced with a child-like mosaic paddling pool, dashed round with white umbrella-like gazebos, it …

Waseda Clocktower, Waseda

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Waseda University, also affectionately known as ‘So-dai’, is one of the top private universities in Japan. Built in 1882, it has since serviced up such cultural and historical giants as the writer Haruki Murakami and the ex-Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda (he was PM for not quite a year 07-08 before wimping out). It was founded by samurai scholar and ex-PM …

10 Office-Front Facades, Ginza

MJG Architecture 4 Comments

Ginza is the core amygdala in the tightly-twined morass of Tokyo’s brain, a nerve center firing off directional impulses telling people what to wear, how to look, what to buy, and who to be. Amongst the district’s densely packed grid of un-signposted streets some of the grandest global corporations can be found- De Beers, Mikimoto, Hermes and so on, parading …