Lose Yourself in Tomoyuki Tanaka’s X-Ray Illustrations of Tokyo Train Stations
Tomoyuki Tanaka can see through walls. Known for meticulous, hand-drawn ballpoint renderings of the innards of everything from furniture to museums, the Japanese architect’s most elaborate works are studies of Tokyo’s sprawling train stations. Tanaka’s unpeeling of the underground labyrinths of Tokyo Station, Shibuya Station, and Shinjuku Station (one of the world’s biggest, and busiest, transport hubs) are like MRIs of some of the most amazing infrastructure on Earth.
Dismantling of Shibuya Station.
What’s impressive about Tanaka’s station studies, apart from their intricacy, is how quickly he creates them. “It takes about a week to research and organize the information,” he says via email, “and another week to draw.” He drafts in pencil—“I don’t usually model on a computer before drawing,” he says, “because there is no need”—then finishes in pen, paying close attention to space, composition, and scale. (Yes, the plans are accurate.) “I want to show the relations between the internal and external spaces of the station,” Tanaka says.
Dismantling of Tokyo Station.
Tanaka’s studies are currently on display at Doboku: Civil Engineering, a new exhibition at the Tokyo gallery 21_21 Design Sight dedicated to Japanese’s world-class infrastructure. The exhibit will run through September 25th, but if you can’t make it to Tokyo, here’s a taste of Tanaka’s illustrations. Hover your cursor over the images in this post to magnify the view—now you can see through walls, too.