"SPACESHIP" LANDS IN SHIBUYA
Youth Culture Hub Gets a Futuristic New Face
The area around Tokyo's Shibuya Station, long known as a center of youth culture and fashion, is getting a makeover. The symbol of this renewal is the creation of a new subway station in the form of a chichusen, or "underground spaceship." In comparison with traditional subway stations, which can be rather claustrophobic, this new station feels distinctly open, despite that the subway platforms are located five stories underground in a vast atrium.
Platforms Five Stories Down
The distinctive subterranean spaceship serves as a station on the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line, which began operating in June and links three of Tokyo's major shopping districts: Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, and Shibuya. At present, the Fukutoshin Line runs from Wako City, Saitama Prefecture, south to the new Shibuya Station, although it will eventually extend all the way to Yokohama by joining with the Tokyu Toyoko Line. The "spaceship" is an elliptical structure about 80 meters long and 24 meters wide, and its unique design features a large open space in the center that allows people to peer down at the platform from the concourse floors above. The ticket gates for the new Shibuya Station are on the B2 level, while the platform itself is on the B5 level about 25 meters below ground. People looking up from the platform may very well feel as if they are inside a spaceship.
Use of Natural Energy
The Shibuya area has long been a magnet for artists, designers, and other cultural figures and has been the birthplace of unique creations in such areas as music, movies, fashion, and art. The Shibuya Culture Platform Initiatives aim to take advantage of the opening of the new Shibuya Station to build on this tradition by transforming the entire area into a locus for the creation and dissemination of culture. The opening of the new Shibuya Station, where people and nature can coexist, is part of this plan, which also calls for the construction of multipurpose buildings in the area around Shibuya Station that will combine shops and office space with cultural facilities, such as theaters. Culture is firmly at the center of this ambitious transformation of Shibuya. (September, 2008)
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