Housing in Tokyo Competition, BUFF 1992
Drawings: Grant Amon
Text: Grant Amon with Paul Jones
Awards: BUFF International Housing Competition, 1st Prize
They seemed to come from all directions, enormous in size and number. The sound was deafening but strangely musical and somehow Biblical like the roll of thunder. What attracted them here we cannot exactly say but it’s now apparent that they mostly come at night, keeping the whole city awake in a state of bewilderment.
Of course it was the neon. Areas such as the Ginza and Shinjuku were swarming and the great neon signs were going off like fire-works as one after another were claimed, mistakenly it seems, as a final resting place. Others, from sheer exhaustion of frantic disorientation, fell into the streets, crash landed or simply resigned seeking the darker sides buildings and alleyways to die.
The city was at a standstill, no chaos, no hysteria, in their inimitable fashion the people of Tokyo seemed to have expected this. Streets were impassable to all except pedestrians capable of clambering over the wreckage. The subways were functioning but most people remained.
It was mid- October, a very pleasant time in Tokyo if the sky is clear. It was quiet but an awe-struck silence. Tokyo had been transformed, the detritus of an alien technology was strewn over the cityscape. But it looked liked Christmas, glistening in the sunlight. The authorities were taking tentative measures in moving in heavy machinery but it was an almost overwhelming problem. Whats more, word soon got round that these glittering remains were in fact precious metals and crystals – and it was everywhere.
Claims were made, prizes taken and in places viciously defended but in the end a realization occurred; this was sudden and complete inflation, wealth kills wealth. The market collapsed but Tokyo survived, the hulks and wreckage were simply and creatively accommodated and utilized.
A wealth of life arose again in the city, heavy transport was severely restricted and many business activities forced to relocate, to decentralise. Tokyo was once again a residential option even desired for its beauty and lifestyle.
In time, the city of Tokyo became the 9th wonder of the modern world, there was a new focus of beauty and society and if you were lucky in life you may just visit that magical place where people live under the platinum wings and golden crusts of imagination.