Architecture

Heatherwick Studio designs new greenery-filled district for Tokyo

Heatherwick Studio designs new...
Construction has already begun on the Toranomon-Azabudai district and it's due to be completed in March 2023
Construction has already begun on the Toranomon-Azabudai district and it's due to be completed in March 2023
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Construction has already begun on the Toranomon-Azabudai district and it's due to be completed in March 2023
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Construction has already begun on the Toranomon-Azabudai district and it's due to be completed in March 2023
The Toranomon-Azabudai project will include retail space designed by Sou Fujimoto
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The Toranomon-Azabudai project will include retail space designed by Sou Fujimoto
The Toranomon-Azabudai district continues the recent trend of plant-filled architecture
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The Toranomon-Azabudai district continues the recent trend of plant-filled architecture
The Toranomon-Azabudai district is Heatherwick Studio's first project to be built in Japan
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The Toranomon-Azabudai district is Heatherwick Studio's first project to be built in Japan
Once complete, the Toranomon-Azabudai district is expected to receive around 30 million visitors a year
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Once complete, the Toranomon-Azabudai district is expected to receive around 30 million visitors a year

High-profile UK firm Heatherwick Studio will add some greenery to Tokyo, Japan, with the new Toranomon-Azabudai district. Involving the redevelopment of a large irregular plot in the bustling metropolis, the project continues the recent trend of plant-filled architecture and will feature several buildings that are covered in greenery.

The Toranomon-Azabudai district, which also involves the Mori Building Company, will take up a sizable 8 hectare (19.7 acre) plot in Minato, Tokyo. It will also include three towers by Pelli Clarke Pelli, while Sou Fujimoto is designing the interior design of a retail unit.

Heatherwick Studio is handling the low-rise architecture and the public spaces, including a large central plaza, and the site will be heavily landscaped, with 24,000 sq m (roughly 258,300 sq ft) of greenery in all. The firm's most striking contribution to the new district though, is an unusual mixed-use building, pictured above. This will be covered in greenery and rise to a height of 43 m (141 ft) and is likened to an oversized pergola, or shaded garden walkway.

Elsewhere on the site will be office space, residential units, a hotel, a school, an art museum, and a temple.

Once complete, the Toranomon-Azabudai district is expected to receive around 30 million visitors a year
Once complete, the Toranomon-Azabudai district is expected to receive around 30 million visitors a year

"It’s been very exciting working on the Toranomon-Azabudai project and much of our effort has been focused on designing the public spaces that everyone will experience when they spend time in this new area," says Heatherwick Studio. "As many new developments around the world can be harsh and sterile we wondered if we could provide a more human-centered alternative by integrating surprisingly intense quantities of planting and greenery.

"As a way of combining an architectural construction system with significant amounts of nature we developed the idea of a garden pergola scaled up to district size. This concept has allowed us to bring an overarching logic to an eight-hectare piece of Tokyo whilst also making space for facilities such as housing, shops, hotels, spas, a school and a temple within the sections framed by the grid."

The Toranomon-Azabudai district is Heatherwick Studio's first project to be built in Japan
The Toranomon-Azabudai district is Heatherwick Studio's first project to be built in Japan

While we've no details on its planned sustainable features at this early stage of the project, Heatherwick Studio refers to it as "Japan's first zero-emission neighborhood," so we can expect the green design to be significant.

Construction on the Toranomon-Azabudai district has already begun and the project is due to be completed in March 2023.

Source: Heatherwick Studio

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