day 18_Tokyo_urban farm

Stumbled upon it one day, while roaming the streets of Tokyo... and after entering I was amazed how pleasant the interior environment was! The green facade was not bad either, but the pairing of a typical office building with urban farming was just so clever and simple. Why don’t we have more of this in our cities?

close-up of the 'living' facade

close-up of the 'living' facade

Pasona Group Headquarters statement: “Aiming for an amicable working environment with ‘Symbiosis with Nature’ as a concept, there are numerous mechanisms that are eco-friendly in the office. Fruits and vegetables grow in the office walls and ceilings. Also, there are more than 200 types of vegetables and fruits in the veranda of the building. It is a healing spot where you can enjoy all four seasons while living in the city.”


day 17_Tokyo_fancy Ginza


Kumiko Inui, Dior (2004)

Kumiko Inui, Dior (2004)

Toyo Ito, Mikimoto (2005)

Toyo Ito, Mikimoto (2005)

Jun Aoki, Louis Vitton (2004)

Jun Aoki, Louis Vitton (2004)

Jun Mitsui & Associates, De Beers (2008)

Jun Mitsui & Associates, De Beers (2008)

Renzo Piano, Maison Hermes (2001)

Renzo Piano, Maison Hermes (2001)

day 03&04_Tokyo_multiplicity of ground plane

The architectural idea of 'ground' is turned upside down in Tokyo. One might be walking for 15 minutes through a network of streets only to discover that what appears to be a ground is actually a roof of an underground mall or train station. Covered arcades transform streets into interior shopping malls and elaborate multi-directional elevated walkways duplicate the street network in the sky.

_ elevated walkways...


_ underground streets...

_ multilevel ground planes...


day 03&04_Tokyo_building typology

As I mentioned in my first post, I was very surprised by the overall structure of the city itself. Tokyo seems to have the high density nodes with high rise buildings concentrated around the main transportation hubs (such as Shibuya or Shinjuku), but the rest of the city is comprised of low rise buildings - mostly residential - that fill in the space between. They are closely packed together, with minimal gaps (ALWAYS a narrow gap between buildings, perhaps due to the seismic code?), typically with a one-lane street and no side walk. From above, it looks like a tightly-knit carpet that is covering the city as far as one can see. The city blocks and the individual buildings vary in size, so unlike Manhattan or Paris, for example, Tokyo does not seem to have an overarching order. Rather, it appears as if the city has grown organically over time, constantly changing, adding, destroying, and rebuilding itself.


day 03&04_Tokyo_stacked city

One building / one city...

... observation deck:


... theater:

... shopping mall:

... restaurant street:

... and of course offices on the top levels (not shown).