Construction of Tokyo’s new tower, Tokyo Sky Tree, has officially been completed as of February 29th according to the company in charge of the project Obayashi Corp. It has now been handed over to TOBU Tower Sky Tree Co. who will finish fitting out the interior in time for its opening on 22nd May 2012. You can already pre-order tickets, and when I say can I mean it’s theoretically possible, but I wish anybody luck getting their hands on them as demand is predicted to be very high.
Completion of the tower puts it as the tallest tower in the world, topping the Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China. Construction was delayed slightly by the earthquake and events that followed last March. Amazing to think that there were workmen in cranes and on platforms working when the earthquake struck. I was terrified being on terra-firma, let alone being on top of a partially constructed tower.
This year will see the completion of a really interesting new piece of architecture in one of the old parts of Tokyo, Asakusa. Built in so-called shitamachi (downtown), and coinciding with something of an injection of life into the area due to its completion at roughly the same time as Tokyo Sky Tree due open this may, the Asakusa Culture & Tourism Center starkly contrasts its surroundings with its modern, glassy facade and unconventional form.
It’s designed by Kengo Kuma and as you can see from the picture is made up of seven individual units stacked on top of each other. It sits directly opposite Asakusa’s most famous tourist attraction, Kaminarimon which leads through to Nakamise Dori and eventually Sensouji Temple. The building will be built on the site of what was the original Asakusa Culture & Tourism Center fronted by the Karakuri-dokei, an extremely kitsch mechanised clock from which animatronic figures would pop out on the hour like a nightmarish cuckoo clock. Obviously a big improvement, but I’ll still miss it anyway.
Such is the way of things in Tokyo. Old buildings disappear and new ones spring up in their place. It was only last year Kabukiza was demolished to make way for its modernised replacement. There are in fact a handful of new architectural projects taking place all around the city which I’ll try to post on if I get chance.
Construction is well underway of the new broadcasting and observation tower, Tokyo Sky Tree – it now stands at around 100m tall. Designed by Tadao Ando and costing a whopping ¥60,000,000,000, the tower will be one of the world’s tallest at 634m and, judging by the CG mock-ups, looks like the kind of tower you would see on the front cover of 80′s sci-fi novels. You can see the current state of affairs in the bottom right of the picture (inset).
The tower is located in Oshiage, Sumida-ku, on the east side of the city, also known as Shitamachi or ‘Downtown’.