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21_21 Design Sight

Tadao Ando Architect & Associates

21_21 Design Sight
By Redazione The Plan -

Tokyo Midtown, a very recent major urban development, is located in Azabu, part of the Yamanote district situated west of the Imperial Palace near the Roppongi hills. The area stretches into the hilly districts of Yamanote, part of the ancient city of Edo, the former Tokyo that dates back to 1600. It was home to the Daimyo, or feudal lords, who were obliged by the shogun to take up residence in Edo, in the gardens and parks of these hills.
With the Maiji restoration, their huge estates became public property and were turned into university and ministerial sites. Until the 90s, the Roppongi district was best known for its vibrant nightlife and coffee shops. The Asahi TV building was a neighbourhood landmark, along with a major site of Tokyo University, the Institute for Industrial Research and Technology and a complex belonging to the Ministry of Defence. In 2003, the television headquarters departed, leaving the area to be occupied by the Mori Art Museum, some of the university area became the National Art Centre and the military zone was turned into the urban development called Tokyo Midtown. This approximately 10 hectare site, has six buildings surrounded by a garden and a park on the eastern side. The garden is planted with 140 cherry trees and is a focal venue for the annual hanami, or “vision of flowers”, the annual cherry blossom period beloved of the Japanese.
The park on the eastern perimeter was the former Shimizu garden annexed to Villa Azabu owned by the Mori family during the Edo Period (1603-1868). The house was also known as the “Cypress Villa” for its numerous cypresses and their typical fragrance, of key significance in Japanese cultural traditions.
Tokyo Midtown also boasts the city’s highest building, the 53-storey Midtown Tower that includes stores, restaurants and art treasures. Set amid greenery, the new Midtown district provides a medley of working, living and relaxation environments in the metropolitan setting. Several...

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