Azabu Juban Project

Hiroshi Ueda

This eight-story building, with an additional floor below ground, is located just off a heavily trafficked street in Tokyo’s Azabu Juban district. Designed primarily to house eating and drinking establishments, restaurants offering Japanese and other cuisines, and spa facilities are likely to be among its tenants. As the overall concept of the building is intended to be “contemporary Japanese,” the client requested that this be reflected in the architecture.

Concerning the facade, the first floor is finished with dark-colored steel sheeting, the second with wooden louvers, and the third to the fifth floors, with ribbon windows fitted with bronze-colored glass overlaid with dot-patterned transparent glass. Though setback, the fifth to the eighth floors differ in that they have a transparent frontage with a terrace on each floor.

As a whole, the facade has a translucent appearance and a sense of depth, but we also wanted to produce a structure in which the degree of transparency increased with each floor. Using this basic concept, we believe that a “human scale,” achieved by altering the finish on each floor, is expressed through the overall facade of the eight-story building.

There are three approaches (left, right, and center) to the above-ground section of the building. By creating a different atmosphere for each and making the approaches as long and narrow as possible, the design brings the “space-with-depth” aspect of Japanese architecture to life in this contemporary structure. This project, with its human-scale, translucent facade, and long approaches leading to prescribed destinations, is the result of an attempt to reproduce a traditional Japanese spatiality within a contemporary space.