Architect: Hindley & CoPhotographer: Anne HindleyAbout the project: City of Light and Dark is a competition entry that was selected as a Top 50 finalist from 460 international proposals for the Death and the City: Tokyo Vertical Cemetery ideas Competition (2016), run by competition organiser Arch Out Loud. .
In the centre of fast paced, high energy Tokyo, City of Light and Dark is a place to reflect upon those who are no longer alive, and to contemplate the very nature of life and death. Attention is drawn to the ever-changing flux between light and dark, night and day, someone and everyone, individual existence and universal consciousness, matter and energy, personal space and the city, artificial and natural, and air, light, water and earth.
During the day, the onlooker’s first glimpse of the vertical cemetery is of a low lying, glowing object which appears to hover just above the surface of the city streets, something like an iceberg of which only the tip is visible. Crowds of people can be seen swarming down stairs from the busy crossing and disappearing below view. This is all intended to lure and intrigue.
The eye is then drawn up a lustrous black tower to a rooftop terrarium, a tiny oasis floating in a bubble in the middle of the madness of Tokyo. The tower’s coloured slot windows allude to the vertical neon signage in the neighbouring streets, as well as to the stained glass which is used traditionally to enlighten the spirit.
At night, powerful beams of light are seen emanating from the building, projected high onto clouds and beyond, and visible for kilometres around. They begin as individual beams, but merge to one as they approach their vanishing point in the heavens, metaphorically suggesting that this might be what happens to our own energies after death.