(18) Saitama Sky Forest and Keyaki Hiroba Plaza けやきひろばプラザ

the tokyo files 東京ファイル

Saitama super arena Sky Forest parking lotKeyaki Hiroba Plaza けやきひろばプラザ

This is the Japan I had been expecting: mega-structures; a de-humanizing city of the future. The Saitama Super Arena さいたまスーパーアリーナ and the Saitama Shintoshin Station さいたま新都心駅 are not built for the human scale. Yet between these concrete and steel monsters, hundreds of trees grow, arranged in a large grid, providing physical and spiritual shelter to the people walking underneath. This is the Keyaki Hiroba Plaza けやきひろばプラザ, or Saitama Sky Forest, although I’ve seen it given many names. (1)

I first read about the Sky Forest in architecture and design blogs, so naturally the language was florid, describing vertical potentialities and the naturalistic vernacular, or some such design-speak. My two visits to the Sky Forest both have been accidents, the first the result of an overzealous sanpo 散歩, and the second because of a beer festival my friends invited me to.

Blue Lights Symphony

On my first…

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