LIVING and WORKING in TOKYO

INTRODUCTION

 

Japan capital city is located on its main island: Honshu. With 23 districts and 13 million inhabitants, it forms one of the most populous megalopolis in the world. Despite its high density, it has not know a generalized vertical development as some large megacities such New York City, Hong Kong or Shanghai. Indeed, it has kept, in its center and neighborhoods, areas that look like small villages with narrow streets and smaller buildings.

 

Tokyo is characterized by an extent of individual constructions interspersed by large avenues with high-rise buildings. Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, of Bow-Wow Agency, when theorizing Tokyo urban planning, defines three different developments in the formation of the urban fabric: «fortified village», «subdivurban» and «commersidence».

 

Fortified Village. Tokyo has experienced devastating fires which spread easily due to wooden buildings. To prevent fires from spreading, avenues wider than 30 meters with an alignment of buildings higher then 10 floors were created to enclose these areas and serve as a firewall.

Subdivurban. This association of subdivided and suburban characterizes the transformation of  Tokyo’s residential areas for the last 80 years. The inheritance tax is very expensive, so families divide their land to pay for it. Consequently plots become smaller and smaller at each generation.  This induces a densification of the urban fabric. Today, several generations of individual houses are observable.

Commersidence. This corresponds to a typology combining shopping, living and working. These non planned neighborhoods were created from a residential fabric where houses were transformed into businesses. Japanese culture has integrated the concept of destruction and reconstruction due to cultural and environmental factors. Thus, the average lifespan of a Japanese house is about 30 years. Tokyo is formed and reformed constantly over time. This perpetual renewal makes the Japanese capital city the testing and innovation ground for architecture.architecturale.

 

PROPOSAL

In this context, ARCHsharing invites participants to work on a small scale project in Omotesando district, where businesses came to interact with the existing residential structure. The plot with modest dimensions will host a mixed program linking home and workspace areas. 

 

The proposal will take into account the cyclical renewal of Japanese buildings. A sustainable architecture that adapts easily or renews to the rhythm of generations and environmental factors will be appreciated.

 

Tokyo hosts a strong desire to develop a line of thought on habitat. The many remarkable constructions of individual housing, or the last two exhibitions «House Vision» in 2013 and 2016, attest to this common interest. Tokyo, through its constant transformations, calls on us to reflect on tomorrow’s challenges. It is in this dynamics that ARCHsharing invites you to imagine the housing of tomorrow.

 

 

SITE

 

The proposed site for the competition is in the emblematic district of Omotesando in Tokyo.

Best known for its large avenue punctuated by achievements from renowned architects for luxury brands like Dior, Louis Vuitton or Prada, the area is also the haunt of young designers. Indeed, behind this great avenue there is a residential and commercial area that looks like a small village. With its changing urban fabric, this district is comparable to the «Commersidence» kind evoked by Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, where the arrival of shops bring energy to the area. 

 

The plot chosen for the competition is currently a car park at 5 Chome -11 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo.

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