A blog that focuses on the photography of Dean J. Birinyi, an interior and architectural photographer based in San Francisco, CA.

Adaptive Reuse in Japan

The Japanese aesthetic could provide insight when designing for millenials.

Though I do wonder how the sound abatement challenge posed by the first project in this article was resolved.


This article was originally published on Domus 969 / May 2013
The Koganecho district of Yokohama and the architecture beneath the overpass
Contemporaries, Yokohama.
Photo Tomohiro Sakashita
Razed to the ground by American B-29s during World War II, in the postwar period the Koganecho district saw the proliferation of a black market beneath its railway overpass that rapidly became a hotbed of drugs and prostitution. Its drugs were extolled by William S. Burroughs, and Akira Kurosawa used the neighbourhood as a location for his movie High and Low (1963). Until 2005, Koganecho was a red-light district with over 100 tiny chon-no-ma (one-woman brothels) where rivers of alcohol were consumed. After three months of raids, the local police cleaned up the area once and for all, but the economic vacuum that this produced resulted in a shuttered ghost town with all the small businesses closing one by one. But it gave the inhabitants the chance to imagine a different future for themselves and Koganecho.