The Peace Hotel (Sassoon House), Shanghai, China (2019)

In Shanghai, China, at the center of the Bund (at the end of Nanjing Road), today’s remodeled and restored Fairmont Peace Hotel was originally the Cathay Hotel in the Sassoon House, built by Sir Victor Sassoon in 1929

In Shanghai, China, at the center of the Bund (at the end of Nanjing Road), today’s remodeled and restored Art Deco Fairmont Peace Hotel was originally the Cathay Hotel in the Sassoon House, built by Sir Victor Sassoon in 1929

 

“The Cathay Hotel was designed by the architectural firm Palmer and Turner and completed in 1929 and was the pride of its owner, Sir Victor Sassoon.  It has a triangular shaped piece of land at the intersection of Nanking Road and the Bund, with a green pyramidal tower with Tudor paneling, imitating the American Chicago School.  The Cathay Hotel was only one portion of the Sassoon House, which also contained offices and shopping arcades.  Nowadays it known as [the Fairmont] Peace Hotel.” — http://www.virtualshanghai.net

 

The lobby of the Fairmont Peace Hotel contains a central atrium leading to the famed restaurant and world-famous Old Jazz Band venue (the Jazz Bar), Shanghai, China_

The lobby of the Art Deco Fairmont Peace Hotel contains a central atrium leading to the famed restaurant and world-famous Old Jazz Band venue (the Jazz Bar), Shanghai, China – this was one of the preeminent dining and entertainment venues in the 1920s and 1930s when Shanghai was famed as the Paris of the Orient

 

The atrium of the Fairmont Peace Hotel contains several 1929 metal “frescoes” of scenes of Shanghai of the era; this one depicts buildings along the Bund (looking south) with boats approaching the quay

The atrium of the Fairmont Peace Hotel contains several 1929 metal “murals” of scenes of Shanghai of the era; this one depicts buildings along the Bund (looking south) with boats approaching the quay

 

The atrium of the Fairmont Peace Hotel contains several 1929 metal “frescoes” of scenes of Shanghai of the era; this one also depicts buildings along the Bund, but a street scene (looking north) with automobiles from the 1920s

The atrium of the Fairmont Peace Hotel contains several 1929 metal “murals” of scenes of Shanghai of the era; this one also depicts buildings along the Bund, but a street scene (looking north) with automobiles from the 1920s in the foreground and the quay to the far right

 

We had an outstanding dim sum and Chinese cuisine luncheon at the beautifully restored Dragon and Phoenix restaurant at the Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai, China

We had an outstanding dim sum and Chinese cuisine luncheon at the beautifully restored Dragon and Phoenix restaurant at the Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai, China

 

The eponymous Dragon and Phoenix in the ceiling panels at the at the beautifully restored Dragon and Phoenix restaurant at the Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai, China

The eponymous Dragon and Phoenix in the ceiling panels at the at the beautifully restored Dragon and Phoenix restaurant at the Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai, China

 

The view of the high-rise buildings in Pudong, across the Huangpu River, from the windows in the Dragon and Phoenix restaurant at the Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai, China

The view of the high-rise buildings in Pudong, across the Huangpu River, from the windows in the Dragon and Phoenix restaurant at the Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai, China

 

The Fairmont Peace Hotel is the best spot we’ve discovered in Shanghai (on the west side of the Huangpu River) for a view of the curved section of Pudong and its concentration of high-rise buildings; China

The Fairmont Peace Hotel is the best spot we’ve discovered in Shanghai (on the west side of the Huangpu River) for a view of the curved section of Pudong and its concentration of high-rise buildings; China

 

A panorama of the Huangpu River with our ship docked at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal (on the left) and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Pudong, Shanghai, China

A panorama of the Huangpu River with our ship docked at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal (on the left) and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Pudong, Shanghai, China — taken from the Dragon and Phoenix restaurant at the Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai, China

 

The living green vertical wall along the quay of the Huangpu River on the Bund side, overlooking the tops of the high-rise buildings in Pudong, Shanghai, China

The living green vertical wall along the quay of the Huangpu River on the Bund side, overlooking the tops of the high-rise buildings in Pudong, Shanghai, China

 

The promenade along the quay on the Bund (looking north) along the Huangpu River, with our docked ship visible on the right; Shanghai, China

The promenade along the quay on the Bund (looking north) along the Huangpu River, with our docked ship visible on the right; Shanghai, China

 

 

“The Man Who Changed the Face of Shanghai” by Taras Grescoe, The New York Times, October 2, 2014

 

“Until recently, the name Sassoon — or, more exactly, Sir Ellice Victor Sassoon, the third baronet of Bombay — had been all but effaced from the streets of Shanghai.  The scion of a Baghdadi Jewish family, educated at Harrow and Cambridge, Sassoon shifted the headquarters of a family empire built on opium and cotton from Bombay to Shanghai, initiating the real estate boom that would make it into the Paris of the Far East.

“The 1929 opening of the Cathay Hotel (its name was changed to the Peace in the mid-50s), heralded as the most luxurious hostelry east of the Suez Canal, proclaimed his commitment to China.  (He even made the 11th-floor penthouse, just below the hotel’s sharply pitched pyramidal roof, his downtown pied-à-terre.)  Within a decade, Sassoon had utterly transformed the skyline of Shanghai, working with architects and developers to build the first true skyscrapers in the Eastern Hemisphere, in the process creating a real estate empire that would regularly see him counted among the world’s half-dozen richest men.  Within two decades, the red flag of the People’s Republic was hoisted over the Cathay, which would for many years serve as a guesthouse for visiting Soviet bloc dignitaries.

“Yet, over the course of the years, Sassoon’s buildings, apparently too solid to demolish, continued to stand, so many mysterious Art Deco and Streamline Moderne megaliths in a cityscape growing ever grimier with coal dust.  As Shanghai once again takes its place as one of Asia’s fastest-growing metropolises, and supertall, 100-plus-story towers define its new skyline, there are signs that the city is beginning to value, and even treasure, its prewar architectural heritage.  Sir Victor would have appreciated the irony: The landmarks of Shanghai’s semi-colonial past, vestiges of a once-reviled foreign occupation, have lately become some of its most coveted addresses.

“The last time I was in Shanghai, in 2007, the Peace Hotel was in a sorry state.  In the Jazz Bar, whose faux Tudor walls seemed to be stained yellow with the nicotine of decades, I watched a sextet of septuagenarian Chinese jazzmen lurching their way through “Begin the Beguine.”  (The musicians, who rehearsed clandestinely through the Cultural Revolution, are still sometimes joined by their oldest member, a 96-year-old drummer.)

“I was given a tour of the property by Peter Hibbard, an author whose books ‘Peace at the Cathay’and ‘The Bund’ document Shanghai’s European architectural history.  He showed me tantalizing glimpses of marble and stained glass, partly hidden by poorly dropped ceilings, and explained that the lavish décor of the eighth-floor restaurant — inspired by the Temple of Heaven in Beijing’s Forbidden City — had to be papered over during the Cultural Revolution to spare it the wrath of the Red Guards.  Hidden away in storerooms, he assured me, were the original Arts and Crafts furniture and Deco glasswork that had been a feature of every guest room.  Mr. Hibbard informed me the hotel was about to close its doors for a complete makeover; he feared the worst.

“After a three-year restoration overseen by the lead architect Tang Yu En (and a makeover supervised by the Singapore-based designer Ian Carr, completed in 2010), much of the cachet of the old Cathay has been restored to the Peace.

“On the ceiling of the Dragon Phoenix Restaurant, gilded chinoiserie bats once again soar; Lalique sconces have been returned to the corridor that leads to the eighth-floor ballroom. In nine themed suites, the décor has been recreated from old photos:  The Indian Room is newly resplendent with filigreed plasterwork and peacock-hued cupolas, while a semicircular moon gate separates the sitting and dining rooms of the Chinese Room.  A spectacular rotunda has once again become the centerpiece of the ground floor, its soaring ceiling of leaded glass undergirded by marble reliefs of stylized greyhounds that remain the hotel’s insignia.

“Some changes would surely have caused Sassoon to arch an eyebrow.  To avoid spooking visitors from the south, elevators now skip directly from the third to the fifth floor. (The number 4 sounds like the Cantonese word for “death.”)  The revolving door on the riverfront Bund, once the privileged entrance for such celebrity visitors as Douglas Fairbanks and Cornelius Vanderbilt, is now chained shut with a rusty padlock.  (It is bad feng shui for a building’s main door to face water.)

“In spite of such adjustments, Mr. Hibbard is delighted to see Sassoon’s flagship property reclaiming pride of place on the Bund.  “Sir Victor changed the face, and the manners, of Shanghai,” he said.  ‘The Cathay exemplified this.  Outside, it’s so simple, clean and streamlined. Inside, it’s fanciful and buoyant.  It gave society a venue to play in. It still gives people from around the globe an opportunity to have a fantastic time in one of the world’s most exciting cities.’

“The building has something else going for it: location.  Sassoon built his headquarters where bustling Nanjing Road, Shanghai’s main commercial street, intersected with the banks, clubs and head offices of foreign firms that lined the Huangpu riverfront.  The hotel, in other words, sits at the exact point where China meets the world — which means that, to this day (and well into most nights), it is buffeted by concentrated streams of humanity.

“I was not surprised that Noël Coward found the serenity to write the first draft of ‘Private Lives’ during a four-day sojourn at the Cathay in 1929, or that Sassoon, a nomadic tycoon who could live anywhere in the world, chose it as the site for his aerie.  The sensation of being swaddled in luxury at the calm center of a bewitching maelstrom is unique.  After building the Cathay, all Sassoon had to do was sit and wait for the world to come to him.” – www.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/travel/the-man-who-changed-the-face-of-shanghai-.html

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Walking in Shanghai, China (2019)

The eastern part of Nanjing Road is the main shopping street of Shanghai, China, and is one of the world's busiest shopping streets

The eastern part of Nanjing Road is the main shopping street of Shanghai, China, and is one of the world’s busiest shopping streets

 

From People’s Park in downtown Shanghai, we took a leisurely walk several miles (kilometers) back to our ship, berthed on the Huangpu River at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal in the Tilanquao Residential District.  We had a very nice dim sum lunch along the way on Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street at a local Chinese restaurant (we were the only non-Chinese customers — as Americans and Australians) in a 3-story “food court” filled with a variety of dining options.

 

“Nanjing Road (南京路 Nánjīnglù) is Shanghai’s main shopping street, famously named one of the World’s Seven Great Roads in the 1930s and now making a rapid comeback after decades of Maoist austerity.  The road stretches from The Bund east towards Hongqiao, with Shanghai’s centerpoint People’s Square (人民广场) in the middle.” – https://Wikitravel.org/en/Shanghai

 

The side streets off Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street offer plenty of additional shopping and dining opportunities, Shanghai, China

The side streets off Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street offer plenty of additional shopping and dining opportunities, Shanghai, China

 

Some side streets off Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street were home to large retail stores, Shanghai, China

Some side streets off Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street were home to large retail stores, Shanghai, China

 

This side street off Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street was full of small retail shops, food stalls and cafes in two-story buildings dating back 100 years ago, Shanghai, China

This side street off Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street was full of small retail shops, food stalls and cafes in two-story buildings dating back 100 years ago, Shanghai, China

 

Quite a contrast between the 100-year old two-story buildings on the north side of Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street and the 21st century skyscraper on the south side, Shanghai, China

Quite a contrast between the 100-year old two-story buildings on the north side of Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street and the 21st century skyscraper on the south side, Shanghai, China

 

This six-foot (two-meter) wide food stall on a side street off Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street sold only steamed buns (bao) – cooked upstairs -- and was doing a “land mine” business mid-afternoon, Shanghai, China

This six-foot (two-meter) wide food stall on a side street off Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street sold only steamed buns (bao) – cooked upstairs — and was doing a “land mine” business mid-afternoon, Shanghai, China

 

Varied architectural styles spanning 100 years on Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street in Shanghai, China

Varied architectural styles spanning 100 years on Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street in Shanghai, China

 

The pedestrian view of the modern skyscrapers in Pudong from the quay at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai, China

The pedestrian view of the modern skyscrapers in Pudong from the quay at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai, China

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

People’s Park, Shanghai, China (2019)

People’s Park, Shanghai, China, is one of the biggest public parks in downtown Shanghai and is a great spot for people watching and serves as an oasis in the middle of the eastern section of the city

People’s Park, Shanghai, China, is one of the biggest public parks in downtown Shanghai and is a great spot for people watching and serves as an oasis in the middle of the eastern section of the city. Across Renmin Avenue, site of the Shanghai People’s Government Building, is Shanghai People’s Square with the outstanding Shanghai Museum immediately behind it

 

“Formerly the site of the Shanghai Racecourse, the centrally located People’s Park is one of the biggest public parks in downtown Shanghai and also one of our favourites for people watching, especially of the old folk going through their morning routines – sometimes it’s tai chi, sometimes it’s dancing, sometimes it’s walking backwards and clapping, or clusters of men playing cards or dominoes in the hidden cloisters of the rock gardens.  Every weekend the park also plays home to the The People’s Square marriage market, where parents take out adverts to find matches for their grown-up children.  The market takes place just inside Gate 5 of People’s park every Saturday and Sunday from midday-3pm… The park is also home to Moroccan themed restaurant and bar Barbarossa and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), which is well worth a look when its hosting a show (previous exhibitions have included solo shows from Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, Chanel’s Little Black Jacket show and exciting multimedia group shows from young Chinese artists).”– http://www.timeoutshanghai.com

 

The historic Shanghai Race Club building on the northwest corner of People’s Park, Shanghai, China, with a modern skyscraper looming across the street; the building was repurposed as an art museum and now is the Shanghai History Museum

The historic Shanghai Race Club building on the northwest corner of People’s Park, Shanghai, China, with a modern skyscraper looming across the street; the building was repurposed as an art museum and now is the Shanghai History Museum

 

Baihua Pond, with an edge of Barbarossa Restaurant visible on the right side. in People’s Park, Shanghai, China

Baihua Pond, with an edge of Barbarossa Restaurant visible on the right side. in People’s Park, Shanghai, China

 

Looking out at the surrounding skyscrapers from People’s Park, Shanghai, China

Looking out at the surrounding skyscrapers from People’s Park, Shanghai, China

 

Baihua Pond, People’s Park, Shanghai, China #2

Baihua Pond, People’s Park, Shanghai, China #2

 

Baihua Pond, People’s Park, Shanghai, China #3

Baihua Pond, People’s Park, Shanghai, China #3

 

Looking out at the surrounding skyscrapers from People’s Park, Shanghai, China #2

Looking out at the surrounding skyscrapers from People’s Park, Shanghai, China #2; here, the historic Shanghai Race Club building is dwarfed by the modern skyscraper

 

The modern performing arts center, Shanghai Grand Theatre, is set off against modern skyscrapers on the streets beyond the huge People’s Park, Shanghai, China

The modern performing arts center, Shanghai Grand Theatre, is set off against modern skyscrapers on the streets beyond the huge People’s Park, Shanghai, China

 

Star Camp, “Five Light Years” video and installation in the exhibition “Do You Copy” in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), People’s Park, Shanghai, China

Star Camp, “Five Light Years” video and installation in the exhibition “Do You Copy” in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), People’s Park, Shanghai, China; note that each acrylic “helmet” was large enough for visitors to insert their heads and hear a custom soundtrack (different in each “helmet”)

 

“Do You Copy” exhibition in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), People’s Park, Shanghai: “When Bauldelaire sang his praises for his nineteenth-century world, he always added the literary query, ‘Do you come from Heaven of rise from the Abyss?’  MOCA Shanghai is pleased to present Do You Copy as part of its ongoing CROSS+ initiative.  Encompassing the media of video, painting, photography, sculpture, installation, fashion, and artificial intelligence, Do You Copy features works by around twenty artists and creative collectives, over half of which are commissioned specifically for this exhibition or presented in public for the first time.  Humans have never ceased to imagine the future.  Through imagination and exploration, we hope and strive for convenience, beauty, and all kinds of new experiences.  We also direct our imagination towards the cosmos.  From the time Galileo looked through his telescope, our cosmological imagination has always been a fusion of myth, fantasy, and science, and has always manifested itself in various forms. The Space Race of the 1950s and 1960s pushed scientific explorations of the universe to new heights, with the 1969 moon landing by U.S. astronauts as one of the period’s signal achievements.  Human imagination about the future became ficher and more firmly grounded in reality.” — Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), People’s Park, Shanghai

 

Team 231, “Do You Copy” custom painted satellite dishes in the exhibition “Do You Copy” in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), People’s Park, Shanghai, China; note Elliot and E.T. on the bicycle in the sky on the center satellite dish

Team 231, “Do You Copy” custom painted satellite dishes in the exhibition “Do You Copy” in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), People’s Park, Shanghai, China; note Elliot and E.T. on the bicycle in the sky on the center satellite dish

 

The Shanghai Grand Theatre is one of the largest and best-equipped automatic stages in the world; since the theatre opened on August 27, 1998, it has staged over 6,000 performances; People’s Park, Shanghai, China

The Shanghai Grand Theatre is one of the largest and best-equipped automatic stages in the world; since the theatre opened on August 27, 1998, it has staged over 6,000 performances of operas, musicals, ballets, symphonies, chamber music concerts, spoken dramas and various Chinese operas; People’s Park, Shanghai, China

 

People watching in People’s Park, Shanghai, China; here, a pickup card game with locals watching the game – one of many tables in the eastern side of the park with games underway and discussion groups nearby, too

People watching in People’s Park, Shanghai, China; here, a pickup card game with locals watching the game – one of many tables in the eastern side of the park with games underway and discussion groups nearby, too

 

Looking east from the edge of People’s Park, Shanghai, China, down the shopping streets to see the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Pudong (across the Huangpu River)

Looking east from the edge of People’s Park, Shanghai, China, down the shopping streets to see the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Pudong (across the Huangpu River)

 

An abstract image made in People’s Park, Shanghai, China – “Links”

An abstract image made in People’s Park, Shanghai, China – “Links”

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Welcome to Night-time Shanghai, China (2019)

We docked late this afternoon at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal on the Huangpu River, directly across from the modern skyscrapers of the 25-year old Pudong district

We docked late this afternoon at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal on the Huangpu River, directly across from the modern skyscrapers of the 25-year old Pudong district. This nighttime photograph was taken after sunset from our ship apartment’s balcony – the tall building on the right is the oldest significant Pudong building, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower; Shanghai, China

 

“Shanghai, on China’s central coast, is the country’s biggest city and a global financial hub.  Its heart is the Bund, a famed waterfront promenade lined with colonial-era buildings.  Across the Huangpu River rises the Pudong district’s futuristic skyline, including 632 meter (2,073 feet) Shanghai Tower and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, with distinctive pink spheres.” – Wikipedia

 

The brightly lighted buildings along the colonial-era Bund, the most famous street in Shanghai, made popular in the early 20th century when Shanghai was the Paris of the Orient, Shanghai, China

The brightly lighted buildings along the colonial-era Bund, the most famous street in Shanghai, made popular in the early 20th century when Shanghai was the Paris of the Orient, Shanghai, China

 

Here are the most significant tall buildings of the newer Pudong district on the east side of the Huangpu River, the tallest being the 632 meter (2,073 feet) Shanghai Tower, Shanghai, China

Here are the most significant tall buildings of the newer Pudong district on the east side of the Huangpu River, the tallest being the 632 meter (2,073 feet) Shanghai Tower, Shanghai, China

 

In the center, brightly lighted river boars sail by while our ship is docked behind the red crane (center left) at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, just a short walk from the Hyatt on the Bund Hotel

In the center, brightly lighted river boars sail by while our ship is docked behind the red crane (center left) at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, just a short walk from the Hyatt on the Bund Hotel where we had excellent Peking Duck and several local dishes at Xindalu Reataurant, Shanghai, China

 

 

Newer tall and brightly lighted buildings on the west side of the Huangpu River photographed from Huangpu Park just south of Waibaidu Bridge and the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai, China

Newer tall and brightly lighted buildings on the west side of the Huangpu River photographed from Huangpu Park just south of Waibaidu Bridge and the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai, China

 

Although it was raining and foggy in the late afternoon when we sailed in, just a few hours later we were treated to a full moon rising over the Pudong district, as seen from Huangpu Park just south of Waibaidu Bridge, Shanghai, China

Although it was raining and foggy in the late afternoon when we sailed in, just a few hours later we were treated to a full moon rising over the Pudong district, as seen from Huangpu Park just south of Waibaidu Bridge, Shanghai, China

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

 

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan (2019)

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #1 – a main entrance to the Gardens directly west of Tokyo Station through the remains of Wadakuramon Gate (to the left of the moat)

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #1 – a main entrance to the Gardens directly west of Tokyo Station through the remains of Wadakuramon Gate (to the left of the moat)

 

We began one morning with a stroll through the public Gardens of the Imperial Palace in the center of downtown Tokyo, in the Marunouchi district, across from the Tokyo Station (main downtown train station) where our shuttle bus had dropped us off — our ship was anchored at the Harumi Passenger Terminal sever miles/kilometers southeast of the Imperial Palace.  We spent the rest of the afternoon in the Ginza district continuing to enjoy the architecture (our own extension to the Tokyo architecture walking tour of the day before [see our blog post, “Tokyo Architecture Walk, Honshu Island, Japan (2019)”]), having an excellent sushi luncheon, and shopping.

 

The Imperial Palace (former Edo Castle):  “The Imperial Palace has occupied the site of the former Edo Castle since 1868 [the Meiji Restoration].  Edo Castle was the home of the Tokugawa Shoguns and the seat of the feudal samurai government which ruled Japan from 1503 until 1867.  After the end of feudal rule in 1967, Edo Castle was vacated by the Shogun and transferred to the new Imperial Government.  The Emperor moved from Kyoto to Tokyo in 1869, after residing in Kyoto for over a millennium.  There has been a castle on this site since 1457, when a castle that occupied the site of the Honmaru, Ninomaru and Sannomaru areas was built by the samurai Ota Dokan.  From 1590 this castle was the home of Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu, who became the first Tokugawa Shogun in 1603.  The Honmaru area included the massive keep tower, and the palace of the Shogun.  Edo Castle was extended by the second and third Shoguns, Hidetada and Iemitsu, with work completed by 1660.  Most of the original castle buildings have been lost to fire.  The current Imperial Palace buildings were completed in 1968, in the Nishinomaru, which had been the palace of the retired shoguns during the Tokugawa shogunate.” – Kokyogaien National Garden Office, Ministry of the Environment (Japan)

 

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #2 -- this entrance to the Gardens is directly west of Tokyo Station with the Palace Hotel Tokyo and the Nippon Life Insurance Marunouchi Garden visible behind the fountains

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #2 — this entrance to the Gardens is directly west of Tokyo Station along Marunouchi 1st Street and goes past Wadakuramon Fountain Park (not pictured, on the left) with the Palace Hotel Tokyo and the Nippon Life Insurance (building and) Marunouchi Garden visible behind the fountains

 

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #3 – looking downtown from Wadakura Fountain Park in the Gardens at some of the nearby high rise office buildings downtown in the Marunouchi district

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #3 – looking downtown from Wadakura Fountain Park in the Gardens at some of the nearby high rise office buildings downtown in the Marunouchi district

 

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #4 – a more expansive view of some of the Marunouchi district high rise office buildings adjacent to the Imperial Gardens

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #4 – a more expansive view of some of the Marunouchi district high rise office buildings adjacent to the Imperial Gardens across from the Wadakuramon Gate and Wadakura Fountain Park

 

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #5 – as we strolled through the beautiful pine trees in the outer Gardens, we were struck by how calm and quiet it was in the Gardens

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #5 – as we strolled through the beautiful pine trees in the outer Gardens, we were struck by how calm and quiet it was in the Gardens – in complete contrast with our experience in many other major city parks (e.g., New York City’s Central Park, London’s Hyde Park, etc.); this was truly an “oasis” in the heart of the city (of 35.6 million people)

 

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #6 – the manicured lawn and carefully trimmed and maintained pine trees presented a spectacular screen in front of the Marunouchi district office buildings

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #6 – the manicured lawn and carefully trimmed and maintained pine trees presented a spectacular screen in front of the Marunouchi district office buildings

 

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #7 – the rebuilt (1968) Imperial Palace stands on a hill behind the Main Gate behind visible stone bridge and the (hidden) Nijubashi Bridge (a second, iron bridge)

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #7 – the rebuilt (1968) Imperial Palace stands on a hill behind the Main Gate behind visible stone bridge and the (hidden) Nijubashi Bridge (a second, iron bridge); this is one of the most popular portrayals of the Imperial Palace

 

The Main Gate and the Nijubashi Bridge:  This gate is the main, formal entrance to the Imperial Palace grounds.  It is used only when the Emperor leaves the Palace for important State occasions, for the official visits to the Palace by State guests, or when ambassadors present their credentials to the Emperor.  Ambassadors are given the choice of arriving at the Palace in a horse-drawn carriage.  The Main Gate to the Palace is open to the public on January 2nd and for the Emperor’s Birthday.  Visitors to the Palace entering through the Main Gate cross two bridges, the Main Gate Stone Bridge and the Main Gate Iron Bridge.  The Nujubashi Bridge refers to the Iron Bridge, not the two bridges.  During the Edo period (1603-1867), because of its height above the moat, the Nijubashi Bridge was a wooden bridge reinforced underneath with a further wooden bridge, hence the name.  The Palace buildings are hidden behind trees to the right of the Nijubashi Bridge… Special Historic Site Edo Castle Specified on May 30, 1963.

 

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #8 – more office buildings (with lots of communications antennas) are clustered across from the Imperial Gardens southeast corner’s former Imperial Castle moat

The Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #8 – more office buildings (with lots of communications antennas) are clustered across from the Imperial Gardens southeast corner’s former Imperial Castle moat (still filled with water, but with both pedestrian and vehicular bridges now)

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Tokyo International Forum 東京国際フォーラム, Honshu Island, Japan (2019)

We visited the Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo's first convention and art center, with our architecture walk guide, and were fascinated with the design and construction of the main building and the lobby gallery, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan

We visited the Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo’s first convention and art center, with our architecture walk guide, and were fascinated with the design and construction of the main building and the lobby gallery, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan; note that from the outside a visitor has little idea of what will unfold when (s)he walks inside from the pleasant tree-lined plaza off a main street in the city’s main Marunouchi district near the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station

 

With 11 stories above ground and 3 below, the Tokyo International Forum is Tokyo’s first convention and art center, a magnificent venue embracing a glass atrium and four buildings each housing a unique hall.  It is owned by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.  Japan’s first international design competition was held in 1987 for the convention and art center with the results of the international competition (395 designs from 50 countries) announced in 1989.  The winning design for the buildings was by a U.S. architect, Tafael Viñoly, born in Uruguay in 1944.  Construction was completed in 1996 and the facility opened in 1997 on the site of the former Tokyo City Hall which was relocated elsewhere in Tokyo five years earlier.

 

The lobby, inspired by the shape of a boat, is the height of an 11-story building, blending ample air and sunlight into its glass and steel framework and is linked by underground passageways to the huge auditorium wing across the courtyard, Tokyo

The lobby, inspired by the shape of a boat, is the height of an 11-story building, blending ample air and sunlight into its glass and steel framework and is linked by underground passageways to the huge auditorium wing across the courtyard, Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan

 

“The Tokyo International Forum, which is located in Tokyo’s central Marunouchi district in Chiyoda ward, is a convention and arts center equipped with a range of facilities including 8 small-to-large-size halls, 34 conference rooms, a symbolic glass atrium, a refreshing and plant-filled ground-level plaza, a variety of shops and restaurants, and an art museum. The Forum is visited by more than 20 million people each year, and it serves as a center for promoting and communicating comprehensive culture and information.

“The Forum hosts a diverse program of events throughout the year at its distinctive and varied halls and conference rooms, including international conferences, ceremonies, academic meetings, exhibitions, concerts, musicals, and fashion shows. People of all ages from various backgrounds gather here to interact and enjoy the vast array of culture and information on offer.

“The Tokyo International Forum is also highly rated for its architecture, and it’s known as one of Tokyo’s leading landmarks. Boasting many attractive features in its construction and facilities, the Forum provides plenty of aesthetically-pleasing points and enjoyable attractions and ways to pass time for all visitors, from event participants to those just dropping by to have a look.” — http://www.t-i-forum.co.jp/en/company/

 

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #3

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #3

 

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #4

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #4

 

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #5

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #5

 

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #6

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #6

 

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #7

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #7

 

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #8 – looking out the windows at adjacent skyscrapers downtown

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #8 – looking out the windows at adjacent skyscrapers downtown

 

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #9 – looking out the windows to see a bullet train pulling into Yūrakuchō Station immediately adjacent to the convention center

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #9 – looking out the windows to see a bullet train pulling into Yūrakuchō Station immediately adjacent to the convention center

 

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #10 -- Footbridges link the sides of the lobby building of Tokyo International Forum

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan # 10 — Footbridges link the sides of the lobby building of Tokyo International Forum

 

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #11

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #11

 

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #12

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #12

 

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #13 – the main exhibition space is on the lower floor of the lobby, under 11 stories of glass and steel

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #13 – the main exhibition space is on the lower floor of the lobby, under 11 stories of glass and steel

 

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #14 – at lunch time the plaza outside the convention center was lined with food trucks dispensing take away foods

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #14 – at lunch time the plaza outside the convention center was lined with food trucks dispensing take away foods

 

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #15 – the tree-lined plaza outside the convention center gives no clue as to the spectacular geometric architecture inside the atrium (photos, above)

Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Honshu Island, Japan #15 – the tree-lined plaza outside the convention center gives no clues as to the spectacular geometric architecture inside the atrium (photos, above)

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Tokyo Architecture Walk, Honshu Island, Japan (2019)

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #1 – Mikimoto Pearls building in the Ginza district

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #1 – Mikimoto Pearls building in the Ginza district

 

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to take a walking tour of several Tokyo neighborhoods with a French architect who has done work around the world and knows the architecture of Tokyo quite well.  Although we barely scratched the surface of the variety and creativity of the buildings spread across the city, we saw quite a variety of styles and building materials and techniques.  These photographs catch just a bit of what we saw – and just one quick snapshot of what in many cases were complex buildings whose appearance changes with the time of day and the weather and lighting.

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #2 – Gap building in the Ginza district

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #2 – Gap building in the Ginza district

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #3 – Maison Hermès building in the Ginza district, designed by Renzo Piano, 1998-2001

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #3 – Maison Hermès building in the Ginza district, designed by Renzo Piano, 1998-2001

 

“Renzo Piano’s monumental tower rises a light, static and rigorous forms, covered by a glass facade that because of the light that filters through translucent slabs and densely gridded to compose, assumes the aspect of an immense symbolic torch chaos dominates the glittering heart of Tokyo… The design intent of the architect Renzo Piano, was that of a “magic lantern” inspired by traditional Japanese lanterns.  In the front, during the day, it gives a translucent idea of what lies beyond, fuzzy objects and events through the thickness of the glass block. At night, the entire building is glowing from within.” — https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/building/maison-hermes-tokyo/

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #4 – a building in the Ginza district

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #4 – a building in the Ginza district

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #5 – from right to left- Maison Hermès, the Gap building and another building in the Ginza district

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #5 – from right to left: Maison Hermès, the Gap building and another building in the Ginza district

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #6 – A 12-story sculpture mounted above the entrance to Maison Hermès in the Ginza district

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #6 – A 12-story sculpture mounted above the entrance to Maison Hermès in the Ginza district

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #7 – A section of the glass block façade of Maison Hermès in the Ginza district

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #7 – A section of the glass block façade of Maison Hermès in the Ginza district

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #8 – a mix of architectural styles (old and new)

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #8 – a mix of architectural styles (old and new)

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #9 – the interior of the hard to find (practically hidden) Wall restaurant in the Aoyama district, featuring one of the first vertical gardens (a green, live plant wall) in the world

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #9 – the interior of the hard to find (practically hidden) Wall restaurant in the Aoyama district where we had our luncheon, featuring one of the first vertical gardens (a green, live plant wall) in the world, designed by the French architect Patrick Blanc, the inventor of living walls

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #10 – a sign near Wall restaurant warning neighbors and visitors to be quiet at night, in the Aoyama district

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #10 – a sign near Wall restaurant warning neighbors and visitors to be quiet at night, in the Aoyama district

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #11 – the Marc Jacobs retail store in the fashionable Aoyama district

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #11 – the Marc Jacobs retail store in the fashionable Aoyama district

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #12 – the Prada retail store in the fashionable Aoyama district

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #12 – the Prada retail store in the fashionable Aoyama district

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #13 – the entry to a retail store in the fashionable Aoyama district

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #13 – the entry to a retail store in the fashionable Aoyama district

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #14 – a uniquely cantilevered section of an office building on Omotesando Avenue, a sloping tree-lined boulevard in Tokyo’s fashionable Aoyama district

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #14 – a uniquely cantilevered section of an office building on Omotesando Avenue, a sloping tree-lined boulevard in Tokyo’s fashionable Aoyama district

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #15 – the Hugo Boss building and retail store on Omotesando Avenue, a sloping tree-lined boulevard in Tokyo’s fashionable Aoyama district

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #15 – the Hugo Boss building and retail store on Omotesando Avenue, a sloping tree-lined boulevard in Tokyo’s fashionable Aoyama district

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #16 – a building and retail store on Omotesando Avenue, a sloping tree-lined boulevard in Tokyo’s fashionable Aoyama district

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #16 – a building and retail store on Omotesando Avenue, a sloping tree-lined boulevard in Tokyo’s fashionable Aoyama district

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #17 – a building and retail store on Omotesando Avenue, a sloping tree-lined boulevard in Tokyo’s fashionable Aoyama district

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #17 – a building and retail store on Omotesando Avenue, a sloping tree-lined boulevard in Tokyo’s fashionable Aoyama district

 

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #18 – the Burberry building and retail store on Omotesando Avenue, a sloping tree-lined boulevard in Tokyo’s fashionable Aoyama district

Tokyo architecture walk, Honshu Island, Japan #18 – the Burberry building and retail store on Omotesando Avenue, a sloping tree-lined boulevard in Tokyo’s fashionable Aoyama district

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.