In Mie Prefecture, part of the Kansai region of the Japanese island of Honshu, is a Shinto shrine known as the Ise Grand Shrine:

ise grand shrine

In an expression of the Shinto concept of wabi-sabi, an acceptance of transience and imperfection in all things, an extremely important ceremony is performed every twenty years. For over a thousand years, perhaps even longer, the shrine has been torn down and rebuilt once every two decades. Despite now being on around its sixty-fifth iteration, and forming a continuity which has lasted for more than a millennium, the current incarnation of the shrine is only two years old. The building is protected from decay by a constant cycle of death and rebirth. Skills and building techniques are kept alive through an extraordinary display of cultural continuity.

A story in the Evening Standard suggests a particularly grim yet particularly British equivalent to the Ise Grand Shrine. One day before the Carlton Tavern in Maida Vale was due to be given listed status, it was demolished without warning by developers who had already been denied planning permission to turn it into flats.


But now the developers have been ordered to rebuild the historic pub, brick by brick.

It is thought this is the first instance of a local council ordering a building be reconstructed from the ground up.

Finally, a spiritual element to the redevelopment of London.

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