Aoyama Technical College – Tokyo, Japan - Atlas Obscura

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Aoyama Technical College

A giant robo-cockroach building devours Tokyo. 


Located on an unassuming residential street in Daikanyama, Aoyama Technical College’s hulking metallic form has been known to give passersby quite a surprise. It lurks around a sharp corner, seeming to pounce out at you at the last minute as it preys on the rickety old wooden house below. But if you approach it from other angles it is visible long before you arrive, with mysterious red antenna poking out between neighboring apartment blocks.

The school, which opened in 1990 as the first building by architect Makoto Sei Watanabe, was designed to house the Shibuya campus of a trade school. What possessed Sei to design it as a giant alien space bug? The architect’s website says:

“This building consists of many parts. They all are essential architectural elements-posts, water tanks, lightning rod, joints of various kinds. But these parts, even after fulfilling their required functions, maintain the momentum of their growth, rising up like so many young shoots flourishing upon a sufficient supply of water and light.” So that clears everything right up, then…

Know Before You Go

Located roughly halfway between JR Shibuya and Ebisu stations. From Shibuya, follow the street by the train tracks and take a right after the Lawson convenience store. It's about a 20 minutes' walk.

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