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Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower in Black and White

I love Tokyo, but I have one minor complaint.  Many buildings, especially the skyscrapers, lack imagination.  Whenever I think of fantastic architecture, places overseas come to mind—for example, London’s Shard.  Spain’s Torre Glòries and Australia’s Adobe318 are also outstanding.  We could make a huge list if we tried.  What about candidates from Tokyo?

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower in Shinjuku

That list would be limited.  We don’t have many buildings that draw a person’s eye.  If you think I’m wrong, please let me know and give me some examples.

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower in Nishi-Shinjuku

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying Tokyo isn’t a modern city, because it is.  But if you look at a lot of the architecture here, it’s old. Take Nishi-Shinjuku, for example. The Keio Plaza Hotel was completed in 1974.  Two of the newer ones, I-Land Tower and Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, opened in the nineties. Other parts of the city are the same: look at Center Gai in Shibuya. 


Yes, new buildings are going up, but I don’t find anything appealing or groundbreaking.  Most structures here are basic boxes at best.  None of the latest ones have grabbed my attention.

Take Roppongi Hills and Shibuya Hikarie, for example.  Both were completed in the twenty-first century.  They are huge buildings.  But from the outside, they are just oversized glass boxes.  I have to admit they do have decks or floors that offer excellent views, though!

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower vocational school building

There is one exception that springs to mind, Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower. It’s something unique in this city.  The tower looks modern!

The owners stated they wanted something new when they asked for tenders.  They didn’t want another rectangular box.  The winners, Tange Associates, got it right.  They created a cocoon-type structure that is very pleasing to the eye!  

Nishi-Shinjuku skyscrapers

Cocoons symbolize nurturing.  Insects use it to protect the young.  And that is what students need.  It was an inspired choice.

The structure was curved in the middle and tapered at both ends to give the cocoon feeling.  The architects then crisscrossed the dark blue windows with white aluminum strips. They made it very cocoonish.  It was a great design, winning the Emporis Skyscraper of the Year Award in 2008.

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower skyscraper

As for the building itself, Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower is  204 meters (50-stories) high.  It is in Nishi-Shinjuku, a short walk from JR Shinjuku Station.  Completed in October 2008, the tower is the twenty-fifth tallest structure in Tokyo. 

The tower contains three schools: 

  • Tokyo Mode Gakuen (a fashion vocational school)
  • HAL Tokyo (a special technology and design college)
  • Shuto Ikō (a medical college)
triangular pattern on wall

Wrapping up

One last thing, what do you think of these photos? I love black and white images, but mine never ‘popped.’ So I researched and started to use the Acros film simulation. I then did my usual edits, but I played with the temperature balance.  Finally, I noticed a change in my pictures. My pictures seem to be approaching the style I’ve been wanting. 

But, what do you think? Your opinion is most important to me. If you could let me know your thoughts, I’d appreciate it.

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower

Where is Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower?

It is in Nishi-Shinjuku, on the west of JR Shinjuku Station.  Here is a map:

That’s it for this article, and I hope you like the photographs.  Next time we’ll see something using filters which is very exciting. 

For more Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower articles, look at:

If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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