Innovative educational 'cocoon' nurtures and inspires students to create, grow and transform
Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, containing 3 vocational schools with approximately 10,000 students, is an innovative educational facility located in Tokyo's dense Nishi-Shinjuku high-rise district. The building's elliptic shape, wrapped in a criss-cross web of diagonal lines, embodies the 'cocoon' concept. Students are inspired to create, grow and transform while embraced within this cocoon-like, incubating form. Completed in October 15, 2008, the building offers a new solution for school architecture in Tokyo's tightly meshed urban environment.
A new typology for educational architecture, the tower and accompanying auditoriums successfully encompass environmental concerns and community needs with inspirational design. The high rise tower floor plan is simple. Three rectangular classroom areas rotate 120 degrees around the inner core. From the 1st to the 50th floor, these rectangular classroom areas are arranged in a curvilinear form. The inner core consists of elevators, staircases and shaft.
In this vertical campus, student lounges are located between the classrooms, facing east, southwest and northwest. Each atrium lounge is three-stories high and offers sweeping views of the surrounding cityscape. A new type of schoolyard, these innovative lounges offer students a comfortable place to relax and communicate. The elliptic shape permits more ground space to be dedicated to landscaping at the building’s narrow base, while the narrow top portion allows unobstructed views of the sky. The shape also allows for even distribution of sunlight, thereby limiting heat radiation to the surrounding area. It also ensures that aerodynamically it disperses strong wind streams, an important issue in this high-rise district.
The combination of cogeneration and district heating and cooling reduces CO2 emissions. For the community, the design is a welcome contribution to the urban landscape and an example of how design innovation benefits and impacts its immediate surroundings. The building is revitalizing the area between the busy Shinjuku Station and the Shinjuku CBD. The two large 1000-seat auditoriums are available for public as well as school use.