After the conflagration: a ruined Tokyo dormitory

Mike GristHaikyo, Residential, Tokyo-to 22 Comments

In 2007 the Seika Dormitory in central Tokyo went up in flames. The roof was burnt away and flames roared up the building’s old stairways and licked at rooms full of possessions, melting and burning some unrecognizably, leaving others coated in a thick mask of sticky black ash. Skeletal roof girders remain. Did anyone die in the Dormitory fire? I don’t know. I hope not, but so many of the rooms were left with so much stuff that seemed still in good-ish condition (heaps of books, vinyl records, clothes, diaries, photo albums) that I have to wonder. The dormitory was …

Tokyo’s Urban Battleship

Mike GristArchitecture, 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 sea-battle, where Watanabe’s cruiser faced an American submarine off the coast of the Philippines. The entire crew expected to die, stared down the barrel of death, but ultimately survived.Sailing for fresh apartment blocks to bomb with water-tank torpedoes. Gliding through …

Burnt Down House haikyo

Mike GristBurned, Haikyo, Residential, Saitama 5 Comments

When I went on the wedding haikyo shoot a few weeks back we stumbled upon this burnt down house. Normally I`d bypass it in favor of the target- in this case we were looking for the Hume factory, but that turned out to be demolished. We had some time to kill, so after looking into the nearby Pachinko Hall we decided to check out the house. Dom and Liduina posed a bit in front, but the light was going and none of us were really in the mood to do a proper shoot, so we just poked around inside.

Infiltrating the Rojin home

Mike GristHaikyo, Residential, Shizuoka 11 Comments

The Rojin (old folks) Home we stumbled across in Shizuoka was a happy accident, one of those random call-outs from the back seat of the car that normally go unheeded. We were searching for an abandoned hospital and having little luck- so the mere sight of anything remotely fenced-off fired up our blood and got us out there investigating.

The death of Metabolism- the New Sky Biru

Mike GristHaikyo, Residential, Tokyo-to 16 Comments

The New Sky Building in Shinjuku belongs to the stable of architecture known as Metabolism, a 1970’s movement in Japan to create utilitarian, utopian, bolt-on and off structures that can change and evolve as needed.  It was a grand-sounding vision that never went mainstream, as Metabolist buildings were often a nightmare to construct and far too much effort to actually ‘transform’ by re-bolting. Another example is the Nakagin Capsule Hotel Tower in Shimbashi- slated for destruction. Bolt-on modules up the left side.

Apartments behind the barricade- abandoned

Mike GristHaikyo, Residential, Tokyo-to 11 Comments

The Osawa Apartments Haikyo in Sagamihara is a high-walled preserve for the recent past, shuttered in behind a plate-metal security fence 15 feet high. Outside the fence traffic races by on a highway slip road, and elementary school children play baseball in their school yard. Inside those sounds are deadened, and nothing moves but for the steady slow creep of vines, spreading like a green blanket over the cracked car parks and up the dusty building’s sides. Around the complex bicycles lie rusted in fallen racks, tangled through with weeds, and 6-mat rooms rest empty behind locked screen doors, their …