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A city in a warehouse in a city

Engadget logo Engadget 31/08/2016 Aaron Souppouris
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I've always had a fascination with architectural models. This interest rose in recent months, following a move to a new apartment block. I love my new place, but it has its problems. There are over-sized windows that capture too much heat, coupled with poor ventilation. There's the glass panel on the balcony, which rattles whenever the wind picks up. And the surrounding area isn't beautifully landscaped, but instead a patchwork of concrete and the detritus left behind from years of construction. In the lobby of the block, there's a scale model of my building, complete with tiny figures lounging on balconies, landscaped surroundings with vibrant plants and children playing on the terrace.

Whenever I look at that model, everything is perfect. It's an idealized version of the real thing; the architect's dream for what this place could've been, rather than the considerably more drab reality. And in Tokyo, there's a museum that houses those dreams: The Archi-Depot. Opened a few months ago, it's a giant room built to contain tiny structures. Shelf after shelf is filled with models, many of which are of real-world Tokyo buildings, including the tallest structure in Japan, Skytree, Haneda Airport and others. Each is accompanied by a QR code that takes you to an information page on the building, where you'll find blueprints, information on architects, and links to other works.

The Big Picture is a recurring feature highlighting beautiful images that tell big stories. We explore topics as large as our planet, or as small as a single life, as affected by or seen through the lens of technology.


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