Hidden treasure in Japan

Yoshihide Ogawa
Thursday 23 Jun 2011

Jun Mitsui & Associates Architects complete experimental retail building in Tokyo

The Jewels of Aoyama is a formation of two different buildings; the main building has a limestone curtain wall façade of slit-windows that angles rhythmically like a folding screen, and in contrast to this, the smaller corner building is an entirely glass volume. Together with its very prominent neighbouring building, Prada, the buildings form a core complex for the Miyuki Dori area.

The corner building, surrounded by its larger neighbours, is set off as a centrepiece and creates a very strong identity for the complex as a whole and for the Minami Aoyama area as well. The different appearance of the two buildings helps to enhance their relationship; the main building’s limestone façade creates a cohesive background to contrast with the entirely glass surfaces of the corner building, while also revealing activity of the shops behind through its slit windows.

By dividing the project into two buildings, this provided the opportunity to create an open plaza space in the centre. This space creates an extra circulation zone at this central intersection, pulling people through the complex, and making a dynamic space at the tenant’s entry space. As people pass through, the intent is to evoke a response through the impact of the building design, and create interest in entering.

Set beside the stoic blue crystal volume of the Prada building, the warm yellow limestone façade changes with the moving perspective as people walk by. With this contrast, the intent is to ultimately compliment the surrounding buildings by creating an animated street experience.

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