The site lies in Shibuya, which is one of the main
sub-centers of the downtown area of metropolitan Tokyo.
But for all the apparent disorder and disorganization,
it is a city unlike any other in the world: its crime rate is low, traffic
accidents are relatively few, its economy is extremely efficient, advanced
technology continues to shape and reshape the city, the arts and culture,
especially recently, have begun to thrive there, and people of all kinds
gather there from all over the country, all in all making it one of the
most dynamic and exciting cities in the world today.
What does the building of a single piece of architecture
mean in a city like Tokyo? What can it do for the city ?
Tokyo is built on different principles from those
that govern Western cities. There are no clear boundaries dividing the city
from its environs, and few broad, long avenues that afford grand vistas.
Zoning regulations are ambiguous, so buildings of all kinds mix and mingle.
There is no common standard in Tokyo that defines what a new building should be. There is not so much as a single concept of how individual buildings should be built in order to create the ideal city nor any strict legal regulations to achieve such a goal.
Instead, each building somehow responds to its neighbors
and the overall urban milieu, working out a principle of design on its own.
This urban order is one that comes about of itself;
it is not forced by means of strict regulations imposed from above.
Tokyo is built according to mechanisms that permit maximum liberty to individual parts and promote their integration into the whole , rather than subjugating them to the whole. They operate on a principle that seeks a free and well-balanced order that does not stifle individuality or undermine the whole.
This organic principle of urban growth is not unique to Japan and Asia. In Western Europe, too, it is thought that cities built on a similar principle existed prior to the Renaissance, although they vanished with the advent of the modern age. It is possible that this principle offers the answers to many of the various problems that plague cities today, not only in Japan but all over the world.
Toward a New Formative Principle of Order
The self-organizing, organic system that emerges
on this principle, however, is-like a natural phenomenon-not conscious.
By extracting from the spontaneous workings of this
principle those methods that we can consciously apply, it is possible that
we might develop a conscious principle upon which to create a new architecture
for the city.
This building consists of many parts.
But if they all continued to grow arbitrarily, friction would arise among
them, causing the collapse of the whole.
Here we see an approach in which diverse parts, while pursuing their
own vigorous fulfillment, achieve an integrity of the whole without being
forced to do so from above. Individual autonomy is respected, a theme that
befits a building that houses a college.
The Power of Architecture Restored
The Aoyama Technical College building is also intended to restore the
fundamental strength that buildings ought to have.
Toward Cities Beyond the Modern Age
The completion of this building proved a potent stimulus to the disorderly,
chaotic area in which it stands.
It is not my aim either to transplant to Japan the classic Western patterns of building cities or to put up with the chaos of Tokyo at it is, but to grope for the way we want the new city to be.