Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Yoyogi National Gymnasium

A couple of days a week I get to teach English to half-bored, half-cool students at a design college in Harajuku (right).

The view from our lecture room on the fourth floor is a superb one that takes in the Yoyogi National Gymnasium (国立代々木競技場), below, and I often find myself glancing out there.

Apparently internationally famous for its suspension roof design, it was designed by Kenzo Tange - the man behind the iconic Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku, which opened in 1991.

The Yoyogi National Gymnasium was built between 1961 and 1964 to house swimming and diving events in the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics; word is that the design also inspired Frei Otto's arena designs for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.

The arena holds somewhere in the vicinity of 13,000 people and is now primarily used for ice hockey and basketball - but also was used for the 2010 World Judo Championships, and J-Pop star Ayumi Hamasaki has most of her Tokyo concerts here.

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