Via Jean Snow, here’s a Japanese perspective on what megalomaniacal architecture is doing to Roppongi. The prognosis, it seems, is not good.
I gotta tell you, I am deee-lighted to see Ozaki muster some local resistance to the scale and pace of development in the neighborhood, having been appalled by Roppongi Hills from the very beginning.
It’s clearly not that Roppongi had been a congenial or an attractive environment before Mori’s wave of tower-erection: it wasn’t, and it wasn’t likely ever going to be. I certainly preferred to spend my time elsewhere. But any genuine lover of cities knows that Total Environment is ultimately a strategy without a future – and this is especially so if Ozaki’s musings about the sanitizing desire underlying development here turn out to be on point. You can’t keep a lid on the Id forever.
To quote somebody whose work I don’t actually care for, and whose own particular flavor of “transgression” leaves me cold: “Without obscenity, our cities are dreary places, and life is bleak.” I never thought I’d miss the tat and clammy hustle of Roppongi, but I like bleakness even less in cities. It’s too bad that the regeneration the neighborhood incontrovertibly needed couldn’t have been allowed to proceed at a tempo and in a style that left more of what it was intact.