Yasuko's Room
Contributed by Yasuko Seki

  • 2006/08/30

    The whole view of Jantarmantar
    The time we got to Delhi, the final destination of this tour, having flied from Dacca via Calcutta was around 10pm. We originally planned to have the last banquet there to cerebrate the successful trip in India. Unfortunately, however, all the restaurants there were already closed. The only place that was open was a cafeteria open for 24 hours. We, a kind of reluctantly, went there and ordered hamburgers and french-fries.
  • 2006/08/30

    A pay weight scale at the station
    of Chandigarh Station.
    The destination of our next tour, after completing the hard schedule of investigation on Corbusier’s buildings in Chandigarh, is the ‘National Assembly Building’ designed by Louis Kahn in Dacca, the Capital City of Bangladesh. We set out for the tour from Chandigarh Station at dawn to go to Delhi. And then, via Calcutta in South India, we flied to Dacca. You know there’s no direct flight from Delhi to Dacca. That’s why we took such a roundabout route of going through Calcutta to reach Dacca. In India, you must estimate that you need at least 3 hours needed for changing planes. If we add up the total flight time from Delhi to Dacca, it is just around 3 hours. We had to kill, however, almost unimaginable length of waiting time both at Delhi Airport and Calcutta Airport. All we can do in the airport lobbies where there are no duty-free shops, no cafes is nothing more than reading books we brought from Japan. After all, it was around the midnight that we, who left Chandigarh at dawn, finally reached the hotel in Dacca. We, however, couldn’t go straight to bed because the architects who were related with Kahn’s Parliament Building Project were waiting for us to have a conference with us. You know it was a challenge against the limit of our physical stamina and hunger.
    To my amazement, the members of the architectural pilgrimage tour say they will leave the hotel on the early morning when it’s still dark. They say they want to confirm the beauty of the National Assembly Building in the morning dew at dawn. You know, quite naturally I refused to participate in such an excursion.
  • 2006/08/30

    High Court Building
    On the 2nd of March, the group set for the tour in early morning. The tour this day included the visits to ‘School of Architecture’, ‘Chandigarh Museum’ which is one of the museums built as a part of the Project of Museums Growing In Spiral, ‘High Court Building’ located in the central governmental area, ‘Parliament Building of Chandigarh’ and ‘Art School.’
  • 2006/08/30

    Free Breakfast Set in the train
    Having completed the pilgrimage for the architectures of Ahmedabad for two days, the group left for Delhi, the way-stop to Chandigarh. We arrived at Delhi at around the midnight of 28th February because of the delay of the plane again. 5 hours later than that, we left for Chandigarh by train from Delhi Central Station. The inside of the train has a kind of good taste. If you take the first class, you get breakfast and cups of tea for free. I tried to imitate the manners what a middle aged Indian woman sitting next to me was doing for drinking tea. First, she poured hot water into her cup and then put some powdered milk in it and stired. Then she put a teabag in the cup. In Japan, people usually make tea first and then put powdered milk at the end. I felt the milk-tea made in Indian way was a little more tasty.
  • 2006/08/30

    the stair well of Dada Harir
    It’d have been frustrating if all the places we visited had been the buildings designed by only Corbusier and Khan, coming all the way to India. We decided to go see water wells, a kind of special architectural feature of here Ahmadabad.
    The State of Gujarat in which Ahmadabad exists is a dry area. The people who have governed this area have built a number of wells to secure drinking water for the people there. The simple image of a well you may have, however, in which there’s a vertical hole and a bucket with a rope connected to it does not hold good here. They are rather grand architectural structures with splendid decorations on the steps dug in the form of staircases.
  • 2006/08/29
    A movie, ‘My Architect’ shown at Q-AX, a complex of small theaters opened last spring in Shibuya, became the talk among architects. ‘My Architect’ in this movie refers to Louis Kahn, who represents the American architectures in the 20th Century. The movie shows the life of Kahn thorough the guidance of his son following the footsteps of his late father. The climax is the scene of ‘The Parliament Building’ standing in Dacca, the Capital City of Bangladesh.
  • 2005/10/21

    Casa Da Musica
    If I was asked to describe 'Casa Da Musica' in my own words, it'd be 'A theme park of modern architecture.' Architects may get upset by this, but it was my frank impression.
    Inside it, there are two halls of big and small with various service rooms related with music. Its outer appearance is that of a simple huge contemporary art. Its inside is, however, a full variety of most advanced modern architecture.
    The reason why I felt like this seems to be its design that deliberately makes such spaces for the function of transferring visitors as the corridor, the staircase and the escalators , etc narrow and going through them, they find themselves in the foyer from where they can look over all the city of Porte, in the rest lobby the walls of which are filled with the famous Azulejos tiles of Portugal, in the rooftop under the pure blue sky and in the spacious rooms that go on one after another.
  • 2005/10/17

    With my husband who wanted to see Alvaro Siza's architecture, I went to the country at the Western end of Eurasian Continent, Portugal. Frankly speaking, I had no expectation to enlarge my experience with architectural designs through this trip. This lack of expectation, however, allowed me to have a relaxed travel and to have no biased preconceptions. I really felt relaxed there, seeing what we can never expect to see in Tokyo where every building looks similar, such as the one with a really eccentric shape and cafes of art deco style that seem to have had absolutely no change for tens of years. Here in Portugal, such liquors as Porto wine, Champaign are served from with the morning meals. They are, of course, with lunches and dinners, too, which let me drink like a fish all day long for one week of our stay there. I was really happy that I could drink alcohol.
  • 2005/09/28
    At a design-museum in London that no one interested in designs will fail to visit, an exhibition of the works of Cedric Price who died last summer was being held. Its title was 【Doubt, Delight+Change】. At the entrance was shown a description about him that he was one of the revolutionary and the most modern architects the late 20th Century produced and his way of approaching to architecture and city-planning has greatly influenced over even such presently most active architects as Richard Rodgers, Rem Koolhaas.
  • 2005/04/15

    Big Dongpa and Mr. Wang
    The Naxi's Dongpa culture, Dongpa letters
    I guess many know the word "Shangri-la", "The place peaches originate" in Japanese. And some say that the area around the city of Lijiang is the very paradise on the earth. It's on the highland of 2500 meters above the sea. Its sky is blue without a cloud, clear air, the water flowing out of Mountain of Jade Dragon Snow called Jade Dragon Stream is completely transparent, flowers bloom and the climate is mild all around a year. People living in such a blessed land are a little shy, calm and gentle. People who visited it must have thought this is the very paradise. And people living in this paradise are the Naxi.
  • 2005/04/05
    The City of World Heritage, the City of Lijiang

    From March 16 until March 20, seven of us headed by Masayuki Kurokawa, the president of Designtope visited Lijiang, a city registered as a World Heritage in Yunnan of China.
    The person who guided us is Mr. Wang who is quite at home with the culture of the Naxis, the minority people living around the City of Lijiang. Mr. Wang, while he is in charge of PAOSNET Shanghai, working to bridge between product designs of Chinese companies and those of Japanese companies, is also actively working on the studies of various cultures in China, especially their letters. What occupies the major part of his studies with his greatest energy is Dongpa culture and the letters they used.
    We were very happy to have such an excellent guide for our trip though it was a short stay no longer than 3 days.
  • 2004/12/06
    At the end of November, I visited Shanghai to enjoy Shanghai crab and I was barely able to go and see 2004 Shanghai Biennale on its last day. The place for it was Shanghai Art Museum located in People’s Park in the center of Shanghai City. Shanghai Cultural Museum being proud of its cultural treasures of the 5000-year-history of China is close to this Art Museum. While the building for Shanghai Cultural Museum is super modern one, this Art Museum is a remodeled 4-story old building of English taste. It has a suitable dignity as an art museum in this city with European style buildings and streets of 1920s and 1930s such as those of Bund District and French Settlement.
  • 2004/08/09

    In the scorching heat in the middle of last July, I visited Shanghai. When the temperature exceeds 35 degrees Celsius,because of the shortage of electricity, the City of Shanghai stops lighting up the Band district, which many of its visitors come to see it. Summer is a kind of unhappy season for such people.
  • 2004/05/12
    ‘Madmug’ is a play toy that is now being talked about by not only kids but by adults.
    This toy with the use of magnet is produced by Jim World Co. in Korea. The parts making up of it are the two kinds of magnet bars of short and long and metal balls, which are to be combined to form various basic forms. By further combining these basic forms together, you can compose such complicated structures as molecular structures and other complex structures.
  • 2004/05/11
    A Design Gallery of Matsuya Ginza , ‘ The Exhibition of CONSTRUCTION TOYS selected by 8 creators’ was held for a little less than a month from March 24 to April 19. As I introduced in my previous article, this project was to ask 8 creators being active on the front line of the art & design field of Japan to select one of the four construction toys which are excellent in their functional and design nature and to present new ways of playing with them based on their rich and free ideas and experiences as creators. 

    And the images and the concepts presented by them were completely beyond the conventional ideas about construction toys. Some of them even seemed to have reached what we should call art objects. They all showed us the great possibility of the toys that even adults can enjoy. Here I’d like to introduce them briefly to you.
  • 2004/01/30
    An artist, graphic designer and the PAOSNET Partner, Zhang Shaojun now being active in Shanghai is holding his one-man exhibition at Gallery ef(http://www.tctv.ne.jp/get2-ef/) in Asakusa. It was around a year ago that I came to know Mr.Zhang. He helped me with various arrangements when I planned a design-tour to China for BUTSUGAKU Research Institute whose activities I am supporting(http://www.k-system.net/butsugaku/).
    I was introduced to him as the President of PAOSNET but I came to know later that he is a designer who learnt graphic designing at Tama Art University and that he is also a contemporary artist who arranges traditional Chinese paintings and calligraphies.
    Hearing his one-man exhibition was being held, I went to Asakusa busy with its year-ending activities.
  • 2004/01/30
    The purpose of the trip this time--- the first half of which was to see modern houses in France.   Pierre Chareau's glass house (Paris), Corbusier's house in Pessac (Bordeaux), his mother’s house (Switzerland), Jean Prouve’s a house in Nancy 、Koolhaas’s house in Bordeaux are the examples of the well-known ones. The latter half of the trip was to see Corbusier’s archintectures and to visit Abbaye du Thoronet in Provence , which is said to have given a great influence to many architects. This Cistercian convent built in the 12th. Century is located in the hill which is around 10 minutes’ ride from Le Thoronet、 a village which is around 90 minutes’ ride from the City of Aixcezanne Provence.
  • 2004/01/30
    Convent of La Tourette (Vicinity of Lyon)

    Its location is around an hour by car from the city of Lyon. Convent of La Tourette, one of Corbusier’s masterpieces is in a rich hilly area, which is in everyone’s images of France. A part of the quarter for resident nuns has been converted into a hotel. The rooms, which were once for resident nuns are simple. A small and simple sink, a couch, a closet and a desk are all there. The shower room and the lavatory are shared by lodgers. It should be called a youth hostel in an architectural masterpiece rather than a hotel.
  • 2004/01/26
    It's been a recent trend of magazines to feature 'Designers' Hotels'. If you are particular about designs, it's quite natural for you to have the desire of relaxing yourself in the comfortable spaces created by well-known designers. Then, how about staying in the architectures with prestigious fame? For example , Paradors run by Spanish government are the parts of historical architectures such as Alhambra Palace transformed into hotels , where you can stay for reasonable rates.