a collaboration between frontoffice, Francois Blanciak, and Alan Burden (Structured Environment)
After decades of government-backed de-centralization urban life is again being promoted in Tokyo, and residential mid-rise and high-rise towers have as a consequence begun to populate the city in large numbers.
Collectively the additions form a new normal urban typology that embraces height but unexpectedly denies the surrounding urban landscape in favour of an interior life. Not surprisingly a side effect of this approach is the lack of livable outdoor space in the city centre. Balconies are common but purely technical, included primarily as outdoor service zones to be filled with mechanical equipment and the accessories of the emergency escape system. Even the most modest tables and chairs fight for space. For those who wish to have some degree of open outdoor space there is little choice but to leave the city centre and settle into a family home in the suburbs.
The ha tower proposes a hybrid model for urban life that embraces the city, pulling it in the heart of the units, while still offering large open spaces that otherwise are only available on the urban fringe. Located in Higashi-Azabu, within walking distance of a cluster of rail lines, Shiba Park, and the iconic Tokyo Tower, the corner site is small, covering only 130 square meters and is constrained by a floor area ratio that limits construction to 8 floors.