I had to run up to Tokyo earlier this week. The up side was that I had some free time and got to go to The National Art Center. I had been told that it was an Ando Tadao creation. It was only after I had gotten home that I found out it was designed by the late Kurokawa Kisho, whose books had propelled me through my college architecture classes. One of Kurokawa's quotes that always stuck with me was his saying that when he sits down to conceive of a building he draws out the door handles at the same time he plans the overall layout. That attention to detail shows in all of his buildings including this one.
This fairly normal apartment building is directly next to the museum complex. It looks like it was probably there since before construction began. Can you imagine your good fortune to have this be the view off the back of your balcony?
The museum is part of a larger complex which features a policy school.
The majority of the building has this curved texture that has the natural feel that Kurokawa went for.
Fortunately they were having a Man Ray exhibit as well.
This are actually transitions well into the Roppongi Hills complex. My main concerns when writing papers for my urban planning degree dealt with what is an area when it wasn't built for consumers, and how can it be approached. Strangely, this section of Tokyo does a good job of addressing that question. Roppongi Hills is essentially a shopping mall with a tuxedo on it. But it works. It is an interesting place and can be experienced without being a consumer. It also lends itself to the neighborhood as a whole.
I believe that all of the chairs in the museum where designed by several prominent Scandinavian designers. They sit nice.
Kurokawa, you are dead, but lots of dead people built less good buildings than you.