Feb 9, 2005

Random pic #13: Past, present, future

I was wandering around Shinbashi one day, just a little to the southwest of the station, when I came across this charming vista. There were many like it in the area, but this was by far my favorite. First there's the stark contrast between the sparkly new Shiodome mega-development in the background and the aging vertically overextended shop-cum-residence in the fore. Then the fact that the surrounding buildings have all been razed, exposing unseemly mortar oozing from the brave survivor's bare cinderblock shell. Finally there are the futon hanging out to air, evidence of what life remains within.

As I said, there is a pattern of fenced-off vacant land in this corner of Shinbashi. Since it appears that small adjacent parcels had been cleared bit by bit, my first thought was Mori, who has plied this MO in large development projects like Roppongi Hills (the land for which was acquired piecemeal over a 20-year span). So I check the Mori Building webiste and, sure enough, it seems they're involved in a public-private "joint effort" with the Tokyo Metro Government to extend loop road no. 2 through this area (Shinbashi 4-chome), from Toranomon to the Waterfront.

For better or worse, Mori is leaving sizeable footprints all over Tokyo (and Shanghai as well).


At 2/11/2005 3:47 PM, Blogger John said...

I can't tell if Mori is a unique occurrence or if his method is the future of Tokyo. With land prices so high, what he does seems almost impossible. Perhaps he has the patience to fit with his money, being able to sit on properties until he's strung a bunch together.

Entities like Roppongi are in danger of eliminating the uniqueness of certain areas of the city. His development on Omotesando might be a good compromise: large, yes, but not so large that it extends beyond its block and destroys neighborhood street patterns.

It should be interesting to see what happens in Shinbashi.

At 2/13/2005 8:36 AM, Blogger eBohn said...

The Omotesando project also shows good restraint in the vertical. Mori tends to build UP - his "vertical garden city" - but Jingumae 4-chome appears no taller than the apartments that preceded it. Of course, the city may have height restrictions there...


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