1999 – Gallery of Horyuji Treasures – Yoshio Taniguchi

A movement to abolish Buddhism, which began in the Edo period, culminated in the policiy of the early Meiji government to make Shinto the state religion. Many Buddhist temples were destroyed. The ancient temple of Horyuji in Nara presented the imperial house with a collection of precious objects in 1878 to protect itself from a similar fate. These treasures, which include both Buddhist and secular items, subsequently became government property.

In 1999 an elegant new building has been constructed to display the treasures to the general public while assuring their safekeeping. The museum has been conceived as a box within a box within a box. The innermost space, enclosed in thick stone walls, accommodates the galleries. The public areas are arranged around this space. Finally, a hood-like steel canopy is arranged in front, suggesting the outermost layer of space.

The facade is nearky symmetrical, belying an asymmetrical floor plan. The lobby and lounge space are brithly lit and in sharp contrast to the galleries, which have very subdued lighting. The transition is rather abrupt, and it takes some time for the eyes to adjust. As in other museums by Yoshio Taniguchi, the galleries themselves are containers that take on life only when the items on display have been installed. The main architectural interest lies in the circulation spaces, which offer unexpected points of view and contrasts between enclosed and open areas.


Name: Gallery of Horyuji Treasures│
Type: Museum│Architect: Yoshio Taniguchi│Completed: 1999

Location

1998 – National Showa Memorial Museum – Kiyonori Kikutake

The National Showa Memorial Museum (昭和館 / Shōwakan) is a national museum in Chiyoda, managed by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. The museum is commonly referred to as the “Showakan” and primarily displays items illustrating the lifestyles of the Japanese people during and after World War II (the Shōwa period in the Japanese calendar). Originally to be named The War Victims Peace Commemoration Prayer Hall, the museum opened on 27 March 1999, partly in response to strong lobbying by the Japan War-Bereaved Families Association, whose headquarters are in the adjacent Kudan Hall. The museum building was designed by Japanese architect Kiyonori Kikutake. The Museum is located next to Kudanshita Station and the northern entrance to Kitanomaru Park.

Its architect, Kiyonori Kikutake, was a prominent Japanese architect known as one of the founders of the Japanese Metabolist group. He was also the tutor and employer of several important Japanese architects, such as Toyo Ito, Shōzō Uchii and Itsuko Hasegawa. He raduated from Waseda University in 1950. Kikutake is best known for his “Marine City” project of 1958, which formed part of the Metabolist Manifesto launched at the World Design Conference in Tokyo in 1960 under the leadership of Kenzo Tange. He, along with fellow member Kisho Kurokawa was invited to exhibit work at the “Visionary Architecture” exhibition in New York of 1961, through which the Metabolists gained international recognition. Kikutake continued his practice until his death in 2011, producing several key public buildings throughout Japan, as well as lecturing internationally.


Name: National Showa Memorial Museum│Type: Museum│Architect: Kionori Kikutake│Completed: 1998

Location

1998 – Harajuku Kindergarten – Shiieru Lelouch / Claire Zion

1998 - Harajuku Kindergarten - Shiieru Lelouch / Claire Zion

This Catholic kindergarten is located in Aoyama next to Watari-Um by Mario Botta and Tower House by Takamitsu Azuma. The expression of the building is determined by the division into different architectural elements, which are painted yellow and red. These colors are complements to the exposed concrete walls. The intention was to create an emblematic and inviting architecture for children.

Name: Harajuku Kindergarden│Type: Education│Architect: Shiieru Lelouch / Claire Zion│Completed: 1998

Location

1996 – Tokyo Big Sight – AXS Satow

Located on the shore of Tokyo Bay, Big Sight is Japan’s largest international convention venue. Its most distinctive feature is the unique architecture of its 58 m-high eight-storey Conference Tower. The site utilizes steel frame with reinforced concrete construction, boasting a total floor area of 230,873 m² which outsizes Makuhari Messe’s floor space by half, and of which 35% is indoors. The convention center is divided into three main areas, each with their own restaurants and other supporting facilities: The East Exhibition Hall, the West Exhibition Hall and the Conference Tower.

The architectural element most associated with the Tokyo Big Sight name, the glass and titanium-panelled Conference Tower appears as a set of four inverted pyramids mounted upon large supports. The first floor comprises an 1100-seat reception hall and four conference rooms of varying size. The second floor comprises the Entrance Plaza which is the main access area, the glass-roofed Event Plaza, the Entrance Hall which leads to the exhibition halls proper, and the Exhibition Plaza. There are no floors three through five due to the structure’s above-ground stature. Floors six and seven can be directly accessed via escalator from the second-floor Entrance Hall, and comprise the main convention facilities of the Tower. The sixth floor houses ten conference rooms of small to medium size, some of which can be merged into larger spaces by removing intervening partitions. Floor seven houses the 1000-seat International Conference Room as well as three conference rooms of much smaller size. Floor eight houses five conference rooms.  Scattered around the Tower’s vicinity are public art pieces, most of which are works by international artists such as Claes Oldenburg and his wife Coosje Van Bruggen, Michael Craig-Martin and Lee U-Fan. These include a giant sculpture of a saw, a large stylized pond and three marble beds.


Name: Tokyo Big Sight│Type: Exhibition│Architect: AXS Satow│Completed: 1996

Location

1996 – Fuji Television – Kenzo Tange

The Fuji television building – designed by Kenzo Tange Associates – adds to the dynamic skyline and is a superb complement to the architecturally innovative buildings of the waterfront area of Odaiba. More than just a building with a unique design, the headquarters houses a high-profile next-generation broadcasting center with an eye to the future. The building, which in many ways captures the essence of what’s best about Japan, has quickly attracted attention and thus a crowd of visitors.

The headquarters has 25 aboveground and 2 underground floors. Just to the left of the media tower is a unique spherical observation platform, with 53 square meters of floor space and a 32-meter diameter. The building stands 123.45 meters high and comprises a total floor space of 142,800 square meters. Construction began in May 1993 and was completed in June 1996. An important consideration when designing this kind of building is ensuring adequate space for people to gather and exchange ideas. The headquarters’ 4.8-meter-wide corridors provide not only convenient walkways but valuable space for casual talk and impromptu discussion. The building’s design emphasizes space and openness, which are important concepts to the image that Fuji Television wants to project. Kajima engineers used the “Mast Column”construction method, which features four steel-frame pillars grouped together, symbolic of the consolidation of our group companies, each supporting the other. In addition, the corridors connecting the two towers strengthen the structure, making it highly earthquake resistant.


Name: Fuji Television│Type: Office / Entertainment│Architect: Kenzo Tange│Completed: 1996

Location

1996 – K-Museum – Makoto Sei Watanabe

The K-Museum was designed by uncompromising architect Makoto Sei Watanabe, the architect for several museums, corporate, and university structures throughout the country. The K-Museum was completed in 1996 as part of the first wave of construction in the newly developing “Tokyo Waterfront City,” Odaiba, located on an artificial island at the head of Tokyo Bay. The museum’s interior was designed to make visible the vast, invisible networks of energy, information, utilities, and refuse that keep Tokyo working.

Watanabe describes the building as following: “This museum rises into the very heart of this incipient city.  The purpose of the museum is to explain the infrastructure of Tokyo. Beneath the city is buried a huge common tunnel system for pooling energy, information, disposing of refuse, and for other purposes required in the future, the largest of its kind in Japan. The museum places this system on public display.

Computer-aided design and computer graphics as well as miniature models were used for the studies of the space and form of the architecture. The undulating three-dimensional curved surfaces were first studied using miniature models, which were then turned into CAD images through a 3-D scanner. The CAD images were then checked with analog measurements, and the results yielded the data for the stonework. Thus we adopted a policy utilizing both digital and analog technologies, comparing and coordinating them so that the strengths of each could be utilized. This policy conforms with the design concept and perception that the appeal of the city is the panoply of choices it offers.”

When the economic bubble burst, the museum closed without ever fully achieving its purpose of housing exhibits about the urban infrastructure of Tokyo. The building was left stranded in the middle of abandoned fields, unfinished walkways and bankrupt developments. Unfortunately, it is still closed today


Name: K-Museum│Type: Museum│Architect: Makoto Sei Watanabe│Completed: 1996

Location

1995 – Kasai Rinkai Kôen Tenbô Hiroba Resuto Hausu (Crystal View) – Yoshio Taniguchi

This facility, which serves as a rest area and observation deck, is a short distance from Tokyo Sea Life Park by the same architect. It is a box seven meters wide, 75 meters long and 11 meters high, with an opening that frames a view of the water from the station. Fireresistant steel bars, 50 by 100 millimeters in section, with the fluoric resin paint are used as mullions and cross bars to form a cagelike structure that supports the roof without columns. Horizontal braces transfer lateral forces to the core.

The result is a highly transparent box, in which visitors can be seen climbing the stairs and ramps and looking out from the upper level. As one obeserver has remarked, putting human beings effectively on display as a counterpoint to the aquarium, where the fish are on show, is a witty ide. Air conditioning is limited to certain zones within the center, and on a clear day it can get quite warm for those who choose to make a public spectacle of themselves.

But looking outside, while the colder winter overlooks the Bay, it’s during the spring and summer when the flowers come out that the Crystal View Observatory allows one to see the beauty of nature all around.


Name: Kasai Rinkai Kôen Tenbô Hiroba Resuto Hausu (Crystal View) │Type: Entertainment│Architect: Yoshio Taniguchi│Completed: 1995

Location

1993 – Kabuki-cho – Richard Rogers

The Kabuki-cho was the first project by Sir Richard Rogers in Japan. It provides a vivid example of a response to a very specific urban context – an area of small-scale streets close to Shinjuku commercial district. The site is extremely constrained, with daylight a precious commodity in the narrow road onto which the building fronts. Although the building is small in scale, great attention was paid to the detailing of the facade, using repetitive functional elements to define the lightweight language of the building.

The final scheme (after the abandonment of initial plans for a hotel) was a twelve-storey office building (two floors below ground level), its main floors canted out over a void which is infilled with a dramatic glazed roof, lighting a public basement area which contains restaurants and bars. The roof is hung off the main structure. The frame, engineered in line with local fire safety and seismic protection regulations, is a composite structure of steel and concrete. As usual, lift, stairs and other services are concentrated in a strongly modelled tower, which terminates in a viewing platform above a penthouse apartment.

Kabuki-cho demonstrates the influence of early Japanese architecture, with its elegance, translucent light and flexibility. The project is a specific response to the character of Tokyo – far more varied and intimate than is generally imagined. In 1993 Kabuki-cho won the RIBA National Award.


Name: Kabuki-cho │Type: Office│Architect: Richard Rogers / Co-Architect: Architect 5 │Completed: 1993

Location

1992 – Scala – Atsushi Kitagawara

1992 - Scala - Atsushi Kitagawara

Scala is a commercial- and office-complex by Atsushi Kitagawara near busy Roppongi-area. The architect was educated at Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music and opened his office in 1980. The facade of Scala is a virtuoso composition different volumes, forms, materials and colors. There is a cubic glas-steel-box which is surmounted by a concrete hopper-like volume. As architectural punchline Kitagawara introduces there a spring-board as a metaphor of fleetingness and the fast pace of life in Tokyo.


Name: Scala │Type: Office / Commercial│Architect: Atsushi Kitagawara│Completed: 1992

Location

1992 – Humax Pavilion – Hiroyuki Wakabayashi

Humax Pavilion is a postmodernist building designed by Hiroyuki Wakabayashi, in Shibuya. The black elevation and futuristic design make the building is one of the most distinctive in Tokyo. Today the building hosts the official Disney store. One of architect Hiroyuki Wakabayashi’s (*1949) first major notable works was a pickle shop in his native Kyoto in 1990. His 1995 design for the Rapi:t express train that links Osaka’s Namba Station with Kansai International Airport won the Blue Ribbon Prize. He has also designed Keihan Electric Railway’s Uji Station (1995) and the Mainichi Shimbun’s offices in Kyoto (1999).


Name: Humax Pavilion │Type: Entertainment / Commercial│Architect: Hiroyuki Wakabayashi│Completed: 1992

Location