January 05, 2007

Buildings - books on and photography of

Last week I visited the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam again to see their latest exhibition: Spectacular City.

This is one of my favourite museums in the country and I love the things they do with architecture and (usually) urban spaces. This exhibition shows photographs of cityscapes - photographing the future, in the words of the curators.

And that is really what it is too. There were only a few shots of 'old style' cities. Most impressive were indeed the cities of the future - the huge metropoles in Asia, Latin America and so on. There were quite a few aerial shots which made you realize the immenseness of it all - quite scary, in a way. Especially because of the lack of people in many shots it all felt quite spooky and very distant.

One of the cool things about the museum is its book shop. I'm not an architecture freak but I do love discovering great buildings (old & new) and I have wanted a book on Japanese architecture for some time. So, this shop finally had one. Very very happy.

One of the buildings described in the book is Tod's in Harajuku - I've walked past there plenty of times and it is indeed a pretty cool building. More recent in Tokyo (and one that I haven't seen myself) is the Mikimoto Ginza 2 store, clearly by the same architect Toyo Ito.

But, there isn't only good architecture in Japan. On the Pechakucha night a few weeks ago one of the presentations was on the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. I didn't know the building but it's stunning. Great shots of it are here. Would love to see it in real life once.

[PS, I was curious why another one of the cool Harajuku buildings wasn't in the book, but I just discovered that the Prada building was apparently designed by Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron so that explains it. Article and pictures (at the bottom) here & here]

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