I lived and worked in Tokyo for almost 20 years. When people hear this, those who have not been lucky enough to visit, often express similar ideas about how 'difficult' it must be to live there. The concept of this Tokyo Shiro/Kuro* project is a reaction to this stereotypical idea of Japan, and more specifically Tokyo, as some kind of high-tech, Bladerunner-style futuristic metropolis. While there are elements of this that ring true, large swathes of the urban landscape is predominantly rundown, pre-fabricated housing and retail buildings. Many of these are tucked away in labyrinthine areas around train stations, or indeed sandwiched between symbols of more modern architecture and development. Many of them date back to the nostalgic post-war Showa-era years, and paradoxically, though they seem to be disappearing daily, on the other hand, against all odds, the sheer number of them still in existence means that they proudly and stubbornly resist the seemingly endless architectural redevelopment of Tokyo.