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Gap Year Abroad

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Sketchbook 14: Tokyo Station

This took me three days to complete, due to the elaborate yet tiny windows.




One of the reasons why I love the architecture of Tokyo Station is because it's the perfect example of why I love architecture: it transcends cultures.

The Meiji Period ushered in rapid industrial growth in Japan, and modernization was tied to European countries. Trade and culture flowed since Japan's ports were no longer closed to the world (thanks in part to America's Commodore Matthew Perry). In a way, Emperor Meiji was similar to Peter the Great of Russia. His idea of modernizing Japan was adopting western-style dress, and of course, infrastructure. So it is no surprise that Tokyo Station, planned in 1908 to be the hub of transit in Tokyo, would be based off of western architecture.

And this is precisely why I find architecture so incredible. That the technology and design can pass seemlessly overseas, despite differences in culture. Without a doubt, Tokyo Station displays an elaborateness and ostentaciousness that Japanese architecture, famed for its simplicity, lacks. Even the brightly colored temples were borrowed in design from China. Yet it is still beautiful and can be appreciated for its beauty by a culture that inspired minimalism.

You don't need language or words to interpret design. Design speak for itself and, different meanings for different people. I only can hope that someday I'll get to have a part in this cultural diffusion.



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