There Goes Tokyo
Dan Meis designs big buildings: office towers, theaters, casinos, and his specialty, stadiums and sports arenas like Staples Center in Los Angeles, Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, and his latest project, Stadio della Roma in Rome, a modern Colosseum for the A.S. Roma soccer team.
About 20 years ago, when Meis was beginning to work on the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo—a giant robot of a stadium that reconfigures itself for different sports—he stopped by a Japanese toy store for inspiration. Instead, he found that unstoppable destroyer of cities, Godzilla. “It looked real,” Meis says, meaning that the toy, almost 2 feet tall, looked like a guy in a rubber suit, which is what the original 1954 movie monster was. “It captured that fakery, and so it looked lifelike.”
Made by the Tokyo Marui Co., Meis’s radio-controlled, robotic rubber Godzilla roars, wags its head, walks left or right, and swishes its tail. He turned out to be exactly what Meis was looking for. The architect now has a regiment of Godzillas on his windowsill in New York City, lined up in descending order of size, snarling over the Midtown skyline. “He is a symbol for me,” Meis explains, “of getting rid of bad architecture.”