Thursday, September 22, 2005

ARCHITECTURE: Tokyo's Prada Aoyama

I remember reading something a while back about Herzog and de Meuron's Prada Aoyama in Tokyo and I wanted to take a quick, but closer look at this structure. The first thing that stands out is the honeycomb-segmented glass curtain wall. The entryway is incorporated into this curtain wall, so if you were on the sidewalk from a block away, you might be hard-pressed to figure out where exactly the front door is until you got closer.

From Studio International:
When night falls, the building glitters, shines and radiates like a festive beacon of style and fashion in the heterogeneous urban fabric of Tokyo.
Though I admire Washington's neoclassical themes repeated and transformed in newer structures in and around the city, sometimes I wish we would have one or two of these buildings around to totally stand out from the norm. K Street needs something like this. The National Association of Realtors headquarters building on New Jersey Avenue NW is the only building that's come close recently.

On a related note, Chicago's Billy Goat Tavern is gearing up to open its first non-Chicago location in the NAR building at 500 New Jersey Ave. NW next week, reports Roll Call's Hot Plate.

-- Primary image from
-- Second image from this Japanese website.


At 4:52 PM, Blogger John said...

Actually the entry is pretty clear, not owing to the building design but it's site and orientation. The building occupies half of its site, the other half given over to a plaza where VIPs can get dropped off; the whole is wrapped by a sod-faced berm. The main entry faces this plaza, not the street, so it's pretty easy to find the entry. But I do get your point, architecturally the entry is merely one of the honeycombs, not articulated any (or much) differently than the rest.

I've never been to D.C., though I've always told people to visit the Finnish Embassy when they go. While it may be too remote to be noticed by most people, it glitters in much the way Prada does, only in a more orthogonal wrapper.

Being from Chicago I can't say I see the point of Billy Goat opening a chain outside of this area. I guess people still like the "cheezboiger" skit so much they'd put up with a jinx on their home ball club.


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