Growing up in New York, you tend to turn a blind eye on much it has to offer. Native New Yorkers generally leave all that gawking, oohing and ahhing to the tourists. Celebrities might get a nod…maybe. Museums get visited on school field trips. Broadway plays? Please. Only went to the World Trade Center on business and, til this day, the closest I’ve come to the Statue of Liberty is the view from the Staten Island ferry as it cruises by.
This was not done out of contempt for the things that have labeled New York the “greatest city in the world” though. It’s just that, at least to me, the places and activities that made New York great weren’t often the center of attraction to your typical visitor. And I was fine with that.
There was one exception though, and if it weren’t for Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” I believe even this feature of New York would have gone under-appreciated. That’s in the area of architecture.
(If you’ve never read this novel, here’s the story in a nutshell courtesy of Thug Notes – love this guy! –)
After my first reading of her phenomenal novel I never saw the structures of New York the same again. Thanks to Howard Rourke, the novel’s protagonist, I began to see each skyscraper, apartment building, department store, even private home as an individual statement by its owner, speaking to the society and time period in which it was built, as well as a manifestation of its builder’s vision.
So, by the time I arrived in Japan, enthusiast that I’d become, I found the structures here to be a veritable feast for the senses. While New York’s cityscape is home to architecture from around the globe, resulting in a hodgepodge of sensibilities, to encounter not simply a building but entire cities designed and built with the Japanese concept of architecture was astounding.
This month, Black Eye has been blessed! What an honor and thrill it was to kick it with one of the architects behind some of the awesome structures seen here in Japan, and much, much more!
Meet architect, professor, lecturer, and social activist: Nsenda Lukumwena!
For more on this remarkable gentleman, follow the link here: From the Congo to Kansai