April 12, 2008
We almost accidentally stumbled upon the Tokyo International Forum on the first day proper of the trip, after walking around the largely underwhelming public areas of the Imperial Palace Gardens.
I’m getting increasingly interested in architecture and had purchased a couple of books on Japanese architecture before leaving for Tokyo. Opened in 1996, the forum was designed by the Uruguay-born American Viñoly. Its boat-shaped main complex is an impressive earthquake-resistant elliptical glass megatruss. Inside, the main concourse is flanked by wood paneling 4 stories tall, unbroken by windows or doorways save one main walkway, in stark contrast to the vast amount of glass opposing it.
The quality of the materials was breathtaking and its hard to picture the complex as already 10 years old – I’m sure it looks as good as the day it was completed.