Tag: ‘Architecture’

Floodgates

10 Jul 2008

Photographer Sato Jun Ichi explores the architecture of Japan's flood control infrastructure in a huge collection of photographs taken over a period of 10+ years.

Japanese floodgate photo by Sato Jun'ichi --
Ibaraki, 1997

Japanese floodgate photo by Sato Jun'ichi -- Japanese floodgate photo by Sato Jun'ichi --
Tochigi, 2006 // Saitama, 2007

Japanese floodgate photo by Sato Jun'ichi --
Saitama, 1999

Japanese floodgate photo by Sato Jun'ichi --
Chiba, 1997

Japanese floodgate photo by Sato Jun'ichi --
Saitama, 1999

Japanese floodgate photo by Sato Jun'ichi --
Saitama, 2006

Japanese floodgate photo by Sato Jun'ichi -- Japanese floodgate photo by Sato Jun'ichi --
Saitama, 2006 // Saitama, 2007

Japanese floodgate photo by Sato Jun'ichi --
Ibaraki, 1998

Japanese floodgate photo by Sato Jun'ichi --
Saitama, 1998

Japanese floodgate photo by Sato Jun'ichi --
Miyagi, 1998

Visit Sato's Floodgates site for about 600 more photos. (Use the links at the top left to scroll through the 37 galleries.) There is also a book.

Zero Emission House

17 Jun 2008

Zero Emissions House --

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has released a few details about the "Zero Emission House," a state-of-the-art green home under construction at the site of the upcoming Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit, where environmental issues will be high on the agenda.

Incorporating the latest in sustainable building technology, the 280-square-meter (3,000 sq ft) Japanese-style home is designed to have a small carbon footprint. A 14.5-kilowatt solar array and a small 1-kilowatt wind generator provide power to the home, which is equipped with next-generation energy-saving appliances, thermal insulation glass, vacuum insulated panels and a green roof. The interior is illuminated by a system of light ducts and OLED lamps.

Zero Emissions House --

Honda's Asimo humanoid robot -- whose exact carbon footprint size is unknown -- will be on hand to serve tea to guests, who are welcome to test-drive the electric vehicles in the driveway and soak their feet in the fuel cell-powered foot bath.

Construction of the 200 million yen ($2 million) home is scheduled for completion at the end of June, at which time it will be unveiled to the foreign press. After the summit, plans are to transport the house to another location, where it will be opened to the general public.

[Source: METI]

Video: Nobuo Takahashi’s animated landscapes

21 Jan 2008

Musashino Plateau --

"Musashino Plateau" and "Japan" -- a pair of 3D computer animations directed by Nobuo Takahashi -- illustrate (in dramatic fashion) how Japan's landscape changed during the postwar period of rapid economic growth. The animations begin slowly with the early postwar recovery years, but the pace quickens to a frenzy as explosive growth during the bubble years (late '80s/early '90s) transforms the cityscape into a chaotic, tightly packed jumble of single-family homes, large apartment complexes and high-rise buildings. In the end, development grinds to a halt with the collapse of the bubble.


Video 1: Musashino Plateau


Video 2: Japan

[Source: Yoshida Gakuen Joho Business]

Fantastic Japanscapes

17 Jan 2008

The Japanese landscape makes a stunning subject for high dynamic range (HDR) photography, as demonstrated by these images and the 500+ others in the Japan HDR Flickr Photo Pool.

HDR Japan --
Nihonbashi [Tokyo] -- Photo: Altus

HDR Japan --
Wave Gate [Numazu] -- Photo: Altus

HDR Japan --
Cloudy Day in Gotokuji [Tokyo] -- Photo: stu72

HDR Japan --
No.6 [Kanagawa prefecture] -- Photo: dokool

HDR Japan --
Machinery [Nippori station, Tokyo] -- Photo: heiwa4126

HDR Japan --
Landmark Tower and Minato Mirai 21 [Yokohama] -- Photo: shinnygogo

HDR Japan --
Shibuya Backstreet [Tokyo] -- Photo: yongfook

Urbano-vegetal

09 Jan 2008

Urbano-vegetal (structure 1) --

From Frederic Gautron's Urbano-vegetal series of digital photomontages.

[Link: Made in Tokyo]

Suburban Tokyo nightscapes

04 Dec 2007

In Tomoyuki Sakaguchi's night photos of suburban Tokyo, familiar landscapes of densely arranged middle-class prefab homes, tightly parked cars, small gardens and anonymous street corners are somehow rendered strangely unfamiliar under the artificial glow of street lights. Check Sakaguchi's website (or his book) for a huge collection of high-res images.

Photo by Tomoyuki Sakaguchi --

Photo by Tomoyuki Sakaguchi --

Photo by Tomoyuki Sakaguchi --

Photo by Tomoyuki Sakaguchi --

Photo by Tomoyuki Sakaguchi --

Photo by Tomoyuki Sakaguchi --

Photo by Tomoyuki Sakaguchi --

Photo by Tomoyuki Sakaguchi --

Photo by Tomoyuki Sakaguchi --

Photo by Tomoyuki Sakaguchi --

[Link: tsaka.jp]

Yabafo: Building-mounted vertical free-fall ride

15 Oct 2007

namBa HIPS -- Japan's first building-mounted free-fall amusement ride, called Yabafo, will be integrated into an exterior wall of Osaka's 12-story namBa H!PS entertainment complex scheduled to open in December. From 74 meters (240 feet) up, the 6-person ride will provide passengers a panoramic view of the city before dropping them 60 meters (200 feet) down the side of the building at a top speed of 22 meters per second (50 miles per hour).

Designed by architect Shin Takamatsu (whose famed Kirin Plaza Osaka building located in the heart of Shinsaibashi will be closed and demolished after the end of October), the 18 billion yen ($157 million) namba H!PS complex is poised to become Osaka's newest landmark. At 86 meters (280 feet) tall and 12,000+ square meters (130,000 square feet) in area, the building will house a variety of entertainment facilities, along with separate floors for golf, beauty salons and restaurants. Yabafo, which is seen as the building's main attraction, is expected to draw an estimated 400,000 thrill-seekers per year.

[Sources: Namba Keizai Shimbun, namBa H!PS Construction Blog]

Cyber-concrete lets walls speak

15 Dec 2006

YRP Ubiquitous Networking Laboratory -- Sumitomo Osaka Cement and YRP Ubiquitous Networking Laboratory have developed cyber-concrete, a smart form of concrete embedded with RFID tags that can store data. Researchers developed a durable coating for YRP's "ucode" tags, which have a larger storage capacity than ordinary IC tags, and they developed a special reader that, when held near the concrete, retrieves the stored data and converts it into spoken form.

Sumitomo is set to begin field testing the technology at its cement factories this month, with the aim of making it available to large construction companies in the spring of 2007.

While the potential applications of cyber-concrete are endless, the companies are initially promoting it as a new tool for managing structural safety data. Cyber-concrete can store information about itself, such as when, where and how it was manufactured and data about strength and quality, making for more efficient and reliable safety inspection systems. This traceability data can be used by construction companies, inspectors, or tenants concerned about building safety.

Public concern for structural safety has risen with a recent building safety inspection scandal involving the discovery of falsified quake-resistance data for a number of buildings in Tokyo and the surrounding areas. Perhaps cyber-concrete will bring a little peace of mind, allowing people to bypass the shady inspectors and ask buildings directly how safe they are -- which is great as long as buildings have no reason to be dishonest.

And should you find yourself trapped under three floors of cyber-concrete after the Big One, at least you'll have something to talk to while waiting for the rescue bots to arrive.

[Sources: Fuji Sankei, Nikkei Net]

RoomRender renders rooms intelligent

08 Dec 2006

RoomRender -- SGI Japan has unveiled an intelligent room system, called RoomRender, that can control the electronics, appliances and hardware in a room based on the spoken commands and emotions of the room's occupants. The company installed the RoomRender system in one of its Tokyo office meeting rooms on December 5. With the cost of RoomRender's basic components estimated at between 5 and 6 million yen ($40K to $50K), the company initially hopes to see the system put to use in company meeting rooms, homes, hotels, hospitals and care facilities.

RoomRender relies on AmiVoice voice recognition technology (developed by Advanced Media) to recognize and analyze spoken commands, enabling the room to close the blinds, turn on the heater, etc. as instructed. When linked with a home entertainment system, RoomRender can be instructed to record TV shows. At present, RoomRender does not have the ability to learn the routines and preferences of its inhabitants, so it has to be told specifically what and when to record, but perhaps one day when RoomRender can predict your behavior, you won't have to tell it to record your favorite show -- it'll just know.

RoomRender also includes features that respond to the mood of its occupants. FeelingWall a wall whose colored lights change according to the mood of the people in the room relies on Sensibility Technology (developed by SGI and AGI), the same technology used in KOTOHANA, which was developed by SGI Japan and NEC. Like KOTOHANA, FeelingWall interprets emotions based on the intonation and rhythm of voices, adjusting the color and lighting accordingly. RoomRender can also be programmed to control an aroma diffuser, releasing fragrances that correspond to various moods. Features like these mean that if an inhabitant sighs Im tired, the room can automatically respond by dimming the lights, causing the light of the FeelingWall to pulsate gently, turning on some relaxing background music and emitting a soothing fragrance from the aroma diffuser.

Segway -- SGI, which recently became Segway's official distributor in Japan, is also developing a function that enables RoomRender to control the two-wheeled transportation devices. In the future, RoomRender will be able to send a Segway to an occupant that asks for it, and it will return a Segway to its battery charger when the power starts running low.

Unfortunately, this also means you won't be able to use the Segway as an escape vehicle if your relationship with RoomRender suddenly turns sour.

[Source: IT Media]