Seeking to explore power as crucial factor in the design of the built environment, we will look at energy systems and related objects, from sites of generation to spaces of consumption, from distribution networks to control rooms.

Tutors: Filip Geerts and Sanne van den Breemer
Director of Studies: Salomon Frausto

Contributors: Santiago Ardila, Juan Benavides, Daniella Camarena, Stef Dingen, Marco Fusco, Jack Garay Arauzo, Theodora Gelali, Shaiwanti Gupta, Hao Hsu, Marianthi Papangelopoulou, Felipe Quintero, Gent Shehu, Siyuan Wang

Metropolitan Expressway Company, Ltd.

Institution, Parking, Consumption, Metropolitan, Olympics, Shutoko, Transportation, Infrastructure, Patent Drawing

The Metropolitan Expressway Company is the company that operates and maintains the Shutoko, a network of toll expressways that connects Tokyo. The Electronic Toll Collection system patented by Akio Kuramoto in the early 2000’s is what most of the cars and taxis in Tokyo carry that allows them to pass through the toll gates almost seamlessly, getting charged only the segment travelled from entry to exit. According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan, by January 2020, 92% of drivers are using ETC [1]. Many of the toll gates are located within a junction—or JCT—where the C1 and C2 (Inner Circular Route and Central Circular Route) meet with the radial routes that connect them. In a sense the toll gates in junctions that span from side to side and around buildings are, in fact, the entry gates to Tokyo.
    When it comes to city gates, the Ledoux ones in Paris are canonical, some of which are still standing Today. They were toll gates used for collection of a tax on goods entering the city, and were named as barriers, like barrière du Trône, barrière de la Villette. When a major part of the Shutoko was completed, the city was preparing to host the 1964 Olympics and it became a moment to show Japan’s recovery after the war. The construction intelligence of Japanese engineering took the stage—just as robotic intelligence is doing it for the 2020 Games. From barriers to junctions. From obstacle to transition. From stopping completely to smoothly moving forward.

1. Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, ETC Usage Status, (accessed March 17, 2020)

See Photos: Shuto Expressway, Hakozaki JCT, Edobashi, in Tokyo
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