Friday, November 10, 2006

The tip of the Gold Mountain

Kanayama (where I is livin') is written with two chinese characters (kanji) 金山: the first means gold, the second means mountain.
The tallest building in Kanayama at the moment is the Kanayama Minami Building. It contains a hotel, office space and a museum and art gallery. It was also built right next to the south exit of the train station, which is where the rockabilly boys come to dance.

The building was completed in 1998. It is 134.4 meters tall with 31 floors above ground and 4 below.
The museum space is a satelite of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The Boston museum signed a 20 year contract to supply exhibition materials to the Japanese site, in return for which the Japanese site paid a cool 50 million U.S dollars. Nice!

A view from the northern side of the station.
The kanayama minami building also houses the Nagoya Urban Institute.
Check the link for a detailed explaination of their urban activities.
The structure in front of the hotel here is the electricity generating wind wall that supplies power to the recently completed open air shopping area, curiously named 'Asunal' in English and 明日なる (Asu-naru) in Japanese. Mitz tells me it's short for '明日元気になる' (ashita genki ni naru). Grrreat.

The curious design of this and other buildings around Nagoya is something I will be coming back to at a later date. Japan seems to be going through a period of architectural confusion. It is a sad thing that the first impression of almost every big city I have been to in Japan was that it could be almost any other big city in Japan. There is no architectural flavour as such, more like an overuse of architectural MSG. City planning? Still, like I say, another time, with some research.

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