Tokyo is the ultimate postmodern city, where the Sumida River flows right in between the capital's oldest temple, Sensoji, and the futuristic marvel that is Tokyo Skytree; where an 80-year-old ryokan (whose only tenant is this author) stands untouched and unchanged in its wooden glory, flanked by two concrete high-rises on reclaimed land once home to fish. While Tokyo’s iconic structures like the Nakagin Capsule Tower, Tokyo Station and Tsukiji Honganji have been widely documented, countless wonders hidden in its concrete jungle await discovery – though not for long. The MIRU project, centred on an app and founded by four architects and a communications expert, promises to be the dowsing rod in our quest, helping us locate ‘singular places in Tokyo featuring remarkable architectural, landscape or urban qualities'.
We spoke to one of the co-founders, Andreas Kofler, about the motivation behind the app’s development. Kofler told us that ‘the locations of many interesting projects are often ambiguous or kept confidential. While finding "House NA" by Sou Fujimoto, for example, can be a long and nerve-wracking enterprise, we reveal its location along with accessibility details and photos on MIRU.’ Although the app is currently under construction, MIRU’s website, Facebook page and Twitter accounts are regularly updated with architecture news and info by a dedicated community of users. You’ll be in good company if you join the club: the cohort includes none other than starchitect Dominique Perrault, the ‘godfather’ of MIRU.