With “Skybuilding No. 3”, late Yoji Watanabe showed how to successfully cope with a war-related post traumatic stress disorder
Built in 1970 by retired Imperial Navy general Watanabe Youji, the urban battleship building Gunkan Higashi Shinjuku, was apparently inspired by a World War II sea-battle in which Watanabe’s cruiser had to face an American submarine, right off the coast of the Philippines. The entire crew feared for their lives while staring down the barrels of death … which ultimately turned into water-tanks some 20 stories above Tokyo city ground. The crew survived the attack. Dealing with the after-effects of a near death situation at war, in ways like Mr. Watanabe did, is truly inspiring and simply put, brilliant.
Some hate it – others love it. That’s why it almost got torn down a few years back. Luckily reason won over ignorance and the building underwent major renovations in 2010. I immediately fell in love with it the very first second I laid eyes on the Gunkan building. Though there was absolutely no chance to get a glimpse of an actual apartment interior during my intrusion, I managed to beg my way up to the roof for a few shots while Mr. Akira Endo (the building supervisor) inspected it. Little time I had after ambuscading for hours, but thankful I am for the minutes I got. If you’d pull up the actual equivalent in today’s weapons arsenal, we would all live in rocket-, tank-, bomb-, fighter-, cruiser- and mushroom-shaped buildings. Mr. Watanabe actually managed to gain something good out of war.