jorge's library

Kyoto: Kyoto station

a lot of you are probably thinking, what is that ultra-futuristic building doing smack in the middle of Kyoto? in truth, i think a lot of the older generation of Kyoto residents feel the same about Kyoto station. formally opened in 1997, it served as a precedent for more modern construction in the area. the city of Kyoto, being dotted by a host of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, was staunchly reluctant to have modern construction mar the wa (character/ feeling) of the area.

built in commemoration of Kyoto's 1,200th anniversary, the building was designed by architect Hiroshi Hara, a true-blue University of Tokyo graduate (he completed his BA, MA and Phd there. sempai!!!). according to Wiki, the building is 70 meters high and 470 meters from east to west, with a total floor area of 238,000 square meters.

Personally, i like the stark futuristic contrast it presents to the controlled and graceful silhoutte of its setting. part of my research in japan deals with bipolarity in architecture, and i think that by contrast, modern architecture such as this, can only emphasize its surroundings. this is not a hard and fast rule though, the station is situated well away from any historical building, and the area surrounding it is on the whole a commercial area. i do not think, as others may have had, that it should have been built along more refined lines or maybe echoed a bit of the historical structures. what's new should look new, and it should not pretend to a history it has no right to. this contrast between the old and the new only contributes to the dynamism of a city.

although in some ways, we can also find parallels between traditiona architecture and that of Kyoto station. japanese architecture is built upon a feeling of impermanence and dynamism; and of finding beauty in irregularity and imperfection. Kyoto station exhibits these qualities, albeit abstractly through its slightly irregular cubic facade of glass plates covering a steel frame.

windbreakers situated at one of the landings of the terraced sections

the windbreakers are situated to the left of the stage/performace area below and is strategically placed to buffer the strong winds that pass through this corridor

the performance area in action

the roof of the station as seen from the top terrace

double feature lamps also serve as sunshades, albeit not very effective as the latter

larger sunshades at the main viewing deck looking out to the performance area below

(LEFT) the garden on the roofdeck
(RIGHT) the view on the opposite end of the station


what's the most high-tech train station you've even been to?