Mid-air nature is as unexpected as it is effective
Originally published in AR December 2007, this piece was republished online in August 2016
The general condition of central Tokyo is one of extraordinary urban density, with buildings of all descriptions jammed against each other in a vibrant but sometimes claustrophobic way. Ingenious architecture, particularly domestic, fights for both area and volume, producing even tighter site conditions. While street activity reflects density of occupation, with shops and shoppers animating the urban scene, look up and you see a blank world of contiguous under-used space. The judges admired this winning design because it addressed both these conditions; by emphasising a cut between buildings with the introduction of vegetation beams (in this case covered in moss), the architect has neatly reversed the stereotype of that conventional Tokyo condition.
Floor plans - Click to expand
Two white walls have been inserted to frame a large terrace which protrudes into the air, in marked contrast to the usual provision of balconies to denote a residential building type rather than for practical use. Above the terrace sit the mossy elements which the architect describes as giving a new sense of perception to the urban fabric. ‘Vegetation handling in mid-air, where nature is not in its natural place, stirs up imagination and sensuality. This vegetation becomes a buffer where ground is connected to the sky.’
Vegetation Installation Gor Fleg Daikanyama Showroom, Tokyo, Japan
Architect: Take to Shimohigoshi I AAE, Tokyo