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Awakening Discomforts
Regine Debatty, 5 Apr 06

loftsWC.jpg If you want to live to be 100, there are volumes of book and scads of websites that will give you hints on how to do it. Alternatively, you can move to Japan (whose population is of course well known for their longevity), and into the Reversible Destiny Lofts.

Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins, whose motto is Architecture Against Death, unveiled a few months ago a small apartment complex in the Tokyo suburb of Mitaka that is anything but comfortable and calming. "People, particularly old people, shouldn't relax and sit back to help them decline," Arakawa insists. "They should be in an environment that stimulates their senses and invigorates their lives."

Inside the apartments, known as Reversible Destiny Lofts, the floor of the dining room slopes erratically, the one in the kitchen is sunken and the study features a concave floor. Electric switches are located in unexpected places so you have to feel around for the right one. A glass door to the veranda is so small you have to bend to crawl out. You constantly lose balance, gather yourself up, and occasionally trip and fall. There's no closet space; residents will have to find a way to live there. "[The apartment] makes you alert and awakens instincts, so you'll live better, longer and even forever," says Arakawa.

Completed last October, the apartments are selling for $763,000 each—about twice as much as a normal apartment in that neighborhood.

10 years ago the pair opened the Site of Reversible Destiny—Yoro Park in Gifu. The theme park consists of attractions designed to throw people off balance, made up of warped surfaces and confusing directions. Visitors often fall—but so far nobody has sued.

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Sweet science. I'm so incredibly there.

Posted by: thedaniel on 5 Apr 06

Its a common and deadly misconseption that inactivity kills.

It doesnt.

What kills so many is jumping from very active to inactive and back again several times.

Thats why retirement kills so many people.

Posted by: wintermane on 6 Apr 06

First of all, what kills people is that the body is finite. No matter what you eat or where you live.

But I would say the reason there are so many theories about activity/inactivity is that different strokes work for different folks-- and some people's needs may even change during their lives.

Dashing from activity to activity, or trying to avoid any kind of "downtime", as is so common in the developed world, can be a recipe for exhaustion, heart disease, and denial of aging. But living with sloped floors could be just the stimulation some older folks need.

Alternating periods of rest and activity is something I find really beneficial, personally. Action and reflection are integral and essential parts of my life. And no, I don't worry that I'm not as "efficient" as I could be if I were running about all the time.

Others have a bent toward over-relaxation-- let's be blunt, laziness. A little activity, stress, stretch goals, would be great for them.

The real problems come when we don't know ourselves, what patterns work for us, and what we are needing right now. And when we feel a need to defend our way by pointing out why all the other ways are wrong.

My hope for the project in Japan is that the people who move in to those apartments are exactly the ones who will benefit most from them, and that other people just do their own thing.

You have to admit, the architecture looks cool! They add to the neighborhood by looking nice for everyone, not just residents.

Posted by: Kim on 7 Apr 06

Cool but frightening architecture. it's bewildering that some will and have deemed it fit to sink $763G into these strange dwelling places!

Posted by: fola on 7 Apr 06

They look like giant gerbil farms.

Anyway what kills people with sharp drops in activity is the bost repairs itself by destroying then rebuilding itself.

BUT the destroying mechanism shuts down much slower then the rebuilder does when activity drops off rapidly.

So your very active and exercise.. then get sick... your bones break down but dont rebuild as fast... various other things do it too.

And your body rips itself apart.

Also as you said diffeent strokes... I come from a gene pool that is adapted for long winters indoors. I dont need as much activeity to be ..ok but on the downside no matter what I do I cant be slim. My body is preparing constantly for that next bad winter that doesnt come.

Posted by: wintermane on 8 Apr 06



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