Two embassies in Azabu Juban

I visited the architects at Front Office Tokyo, and had the shock of discovering huge estates, corporate clubs, and sprawling embassies in Azabu Juban. It’s an area between the station and Keio’s campus that I have never been to. Probably the largest and most intriguing grounds belong to the Mitsui Club.

The contrast between the gorgeous wooded grounds of the Italian embassy and the newly constructed Australian embassy is painful. The Italian embassy is hidden inside a huge park-like setting. The Australian one is an enormous modern building with almost no landscaping.

Perhaps adding insult to their national pride, the animals that represent the nation are in what look like cages. Is this to express the cultural heritage of the former penal colony? My spouse reminds me that Australia is one of the few countries that eats their national animals. Is that bad or just practical?


  1. So it wasn’t just me… When I walked by the embassy the first time my initial thoughts were along the lines of “what an odd place to build a prison”.

  2. Well, I’m embarrassed! How awful.
    I tracked down the architectural firm – DentonCorkerMarshall – and the photo on their website is even uglier.
    From Sydney, gomen nasai…

    1. Thanks, Ms B, for tracking down the name of the architects. They should feel ashamed. It’s important that we demand more from our public buildings.

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