月曜日, 12月 17th, 2012...9:51 am

Mitaka Tenmei Hanten Jutaku

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Mitaka Tenmei Hanten Jutaku
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If you go on the highway in the suburbs of Tokyo, a strange building made of spheres and cylinders piled up on one another. It is the “Mitaka Tenmei Hanten Jutaku In Memory of Helen Keller,” a residential building

This building which is available for occupancy is the work of artist and architect Shusaku Arakawa and his partner Madeline Gins, completed in October 2005..

This building was made under the idea that, like Helen Keller who learned about nature and human relationships by using her own body to discover a new world, people may turn the impossible to possible by believing in an infinite possibility and not taking their environment for granted. Thus, the establishment was named “Tenmei Hanten,” which means overturning destiny. (Jutaku= Japanese for residence)

ABRF, Arakawa’s Tokyo office that also operates Tenmei Hanten residence periodically organizes programs that allow people to actually experience the Tenmei Hanten Jutaku. I participated in the program to wake up my dormant senses.

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The Mitaka Tenmei Hanten Juyaku stands along the highway in Mitaka city in the suburbs of Tokyo. Walking from the nearest bus stop, the colorful building will appear capturing the eyes of all pedestrians and drivers. There is a total of fourteen colors used in total, and the painting is calculated so that there will be at least six colors visible from every angle. The outrageous colors are of the building are vivid, but they are not simply primary colors. Although Arakawa’s career was based in NY during the making of the residence, he made six trips to Japan to make adjustments to the color. Even now after Arakawa’s death, there is still a supply of paint so that it can be repainted.

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After check-in, I was lead to a room on the third floor. The Mitaka Tenmei Hantei has three stories, and each floor has three rooms. None of the nine rooms are made identical and entering through the entrance would lead you to a space like no other.

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First, the tour guide talks about the biography of Arakawa and his ideologies as well as the building process. After that, it is time to explore.

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There is almost no storage space in this room. Metal bars are used hang clothes and other miscellaneous items. There are multiple hooks on the ceiling where the metal poles can be attached on one end and bags and clothes on the other. Some residents hang hammocks from the hooks.

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What is also striking is that the floor is bumpy. It is designed to fit the arch of the feet. It makes you focus on the senses of the feet, and once you get adjusted you will be able to pick up even the slightest seams of the floor. I recommend that you walk around bare footed.

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The yellow spherical room stands out amongst all others in the room. The echoing sound and the concave surface of the floor create a strange space.

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In another spherical room, the walls are painted red and there is a swing.

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This room basically does not have doors separating rooms, even the toilet. Here, the concept of privacy doesn’t exist.

Everything is colorful from the common rooms to the elevators.

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After touring the rooms, it is time to look at the rooftop.

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It seems inconvenient to live in, but the longer you stay, the more you get attracted to it.

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An artist born in Nagoya in 1936, Arakawa begins his career in NY. In 1962, he begins working with his partner, Madeline Gins. Their works include “Imi no Mekanizumu (Meaning of mechanizm)” (1971), “Yourou Tenmei Hanten (Overturn of endowment)” (1995), and “Mitaka Tenmei Hanten Jutaku” (2005). He passed away in 2010 at the age of 73.

■Mitaka Tenmei Hanten Jutaku
Address: 2-2-3 Osawa, Mitakashi, Tokyo
Access: JR Chuo Line – Take the bus from Musashisakai, Mitaka, or Kichijyoji; Keio Chofu Line- Take the bus from Chofu station
Programs: Scheduled building tours and workshops, Short stay programs beginning from one week period
Access the website for more information: http://www.architectural-body.com/mitaka/eng/index.html

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