On Tokyo and ‘No-Good’ Architecture

"Photographic books amplify a desire for an architecture which simply can't be found in our surroundings. In such a situation, then suddenly architectural design holds no interest anymore; the future appears depressing. If we can't try to turn 'disgusting' buildings into resources, then there is no reason to particularly stay in Tokyo. Surely we can start to think about how to take advantage of them, rather than trying to run away. Shamelessness can become useful. ...

"The buildings we were attracted to were ones giving a priority to stubborn honesty in response to their surroundings and programmatic requirements, without insisting on architectural aesthetic and form. We decided to call them 'Da-me Architecture' (no-good architecture), with all our love and disdain. Most of them are anonymous buildings, not beautiful, and not accepted in architectural culture to date. [...] We thought that although these buildings are not explained by the city of Tokyo, they do explain what Tokyo is."

Momoyo Kajima, Junzo Kuroda and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, from Made in Tokyo, 2008

This is part of a collection of quotes related to cities. They don’t necessarily reflect our views, just topics of interest. We welcome you to add others.

Credits: Photo of Tokyo by Min Li Chan.


  1. interesting quote. and the photo is perfect. i love the building with the huge brown lattice work going around it - like the fencing used by convenience store operators to close down for the night. this view shows the beauty in da-me architecture.

  2. Nice image of Tokyo! I remember when I was driving in to Tokyo, that the suburban architecture was extremely depressing. Thankfully Tokyo itself fared better. -- Dissidente.

  3. I want to wish the old Tokyo one of my good night quotes

    I wish upon a star
    That everyone can have friends
    As kind as you areBecause if they did
    The world would be
    A happy place filled with gleeTo you my friend
    I'll have to say
    You always somehow
    Make my dayThank you friend
    For all you do
    These words I say
    Are sincere and true


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