Jun Mitsui & Associates Architects complete retail building with frit glass cubes in Tokyo
This project was commissioned by a Hong Kong-based developer for whom Jun Mitsui & Associates Inc. Architects had previously designed two high-end retail projects (in Akasaka and Omotesando). The site constraints, including the area of available air space (tenku-ritsu) and sun/shadow requirements were very restrictive. Careful calculations were done to arrive at the best balance of forms while satisfying the regulations and achieving the maximum FAR.
By developing the formal strategy as a series of interlocking cubes the architects were able to massage the complicated building envelop shape into a dynamic composition. This strategy not only solved the complex building form but also gave the freedom of adjusting the forms according to the additional building programs and structural considerations. An important design requirement was for the cubes to appear feather-light and thin.
Jun Mitsui & Associates performed careful studies to make the structure and insulation look as thin as possible. The cube surfaces are covered with a baked ceramic frit pattern on the outer-most surface of the glazing. By doing so, a pure-white cube expression can be achieved. Had the frit been applied on an inner surface, the colour of the cubes would have been greenish due to the green tint of the glass.
All necessary technical studies for maintenance and durability of the outer-most surface frit pattern were resolved with the manufacturer who was then able to provide a ten year warranty. The resulting image is silky and feathery which attracted the main tenant H&M, a Swedish apparel company who values the high-impact design.