Minato district, Tokyo, Japan
Ryuichi Sasaki of Ryuchi Sasaki Architecture, Gen Sakaguchi, and Yuriko Oguraof Ytro Design Institute designed the five-story mixed-use building for Shukou Kensetsu that reflects its exposed concrete structure with an iconic career evident in the street.
Named Escenario Shirokane, it has a triple role of residential, retail and office space within the building complex.
It is located in Shirokane, the Minato ward of Tokyo, at the corner of a four-way intersection on Gonohashidori – a street running south from the Furukawa River.
Escenario Shirokane recently received the 2022 International Architecture Award Honorable Mention from The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and European Center for Architecture Design and Urban Studies.
Although at first glance the street may appear to have an old-fashioned touch, it is not as narrow as what might be seen in traditional Japanese streets – both facades of the building can be seen from a distance. .
For this reason, it was important to design the project to portray the architectural structure as an iconic street presence.
The exterior of the five-storey building is made of RC (reinforced concrete) load-bearing walls, with a surface that shines in the light – achieved through the effect of shifting stainless steel panels and the concrete spiral design.
This configuration of the facade allows the shadows falling on the street to shift depending on the time of day and seasonal changes, allowing for a variety of expressions.
This design is appropriate for the vibrant city of Shirokane and allows residents, visitors, pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to capture reflections of their vitality. While the first floor of the building consists of restaurant units, and is led by a sliding glass entrance from the inside, while the second to fourth floors contain two residential units each.
Finally, on the fourth floor, a staircase entrance leads to the fifth floor maisonette, which consists of office space.
These units range from studios for one person to one-bedroom apartments with living, dining and kitchen spaces.
These are designed to have large openings in square shapes to recreate the effect of space, light and wind.
To create a simple design with minimal waste and a high degree of spatial freedom within the architectural structure composition, the bedroom and living room have the option to be used as a single unit with the help of sliding walls.
To emphasize the contrast of materials, white and concrete walls are used.
Thus, the spatial relationship between the areas of the room is tailored to meet any individual needs of each resident, which is detrimental to the flexible structure. In addition, the two-storey high ceiling of 3.7 meters with attic space, the small house design can also be used not only as office space – but also as a residential area.
The playful use of materials in spatial flexibility is based on the idea of simplification in relation to the environment around the building, providing a rich and unique experience.
A lifestyle with a sense of liberation in space allows residents to take a leadership role in controlling the space.
The dialogue between the existing architecture and the surrounding environment is cemented through the varied use of materials and the architectural structure design of the housing unit itself.
Project: Escenario Shirokane
Architects: Ryuichi Sasaki Architecture and Ytro Design Institute
Principal engineer: Ryuichi Sasaki
Design team: Gen Sakaguchi and Yoriko Ogura
General Contractor: Magum Construction Company
Developer: Escenario Co., Ltd.
Client: Shukou Kensetsu Co., Ltd.
Photographers: Takumi Ota Photography