not once did i feel like closing my eyes

30 minutes into thinking how to begin writing this piece and still struggling to come up with something, I think that’s the hardest part in the life of an introvert. We never know how to start a conversation and I feel that’s the reason it’s hard to start designing from scratch. But for the past 9 days it never felt the same, I believe that’s the magic of the dtour. When people who are equally passionate about architecture come together then conversations convert into D-talks.

I went on the flight with one simple motive to “Observe and Absorb”.

So now the question arises how does one summarizes this mammoth experience within a few words. Well at first the adrenalin gushed in and slowly the realization that it was the start of a new beginning sank in.

In terms of experiences there was a lot to be taken back home. From landing in Seoul and taking off from Osaka not once I felt like closing my eyes just because of the fear of missing out something important.

On one hand Seoul could be described as modern, fast paced, it almost felt like the city never wanted to sleep. If I had to choose one project that described Seoul then it has got be the Dongdaemun Design Plaza by Zaha Hadid. It is a perfect example of an urban insert. Just like the LED flowers the city came to life at night.

Japan was mature and humble. People were disciplined which could also be seen in their design. The country which still has its roots entangled in its past and their values. The water temple which may not make it to the 5 best architectural projects but it is still the best example of their design philosophy. Almost hidden from the outer world and still manages to mark an impression in terms of its simplicity and minimal design.

Apart from the architecture, traveling was also a fun experience; let it be the private ferry ride to the Naoshima Island or the bicycle ride. Riding through bus was less tiring but wandering through the streets on foot had its own advantage.

There is a lot to learn from this experience, not just in terms of architecture but also the hard work, discipline, minimalism and carrying forward the culture. Every individual has a role to play in the community. Similarly almost every building we visited was designed with pure intentions, every line drawn had a purpose to be there. From the minutest details to the urban scale everything was thought through. The way each grove was matched, to every cross-section of street, pedestrian was truly god there.

Five best moments from the trip have to be –

Exploring the streets of Gangnam (Seoul) and Omotesando (Tokyo)

Taking the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto.

Private ferry ride to Naoshima Art Island.

Cycling through the Island.

Japanese street food on the last day.


Five best projects-

Tama Art University Library

Chichu Art Museum

Fukutake Hall

Leeum Samsung Museum

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Harsh Chauhan

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