As part of its urban redevelopment, the Toranomon-Azabudai district will undergo extraordinary regeneration in the centre of Tokyo. Objective: to create an ‘urban village in a modern city’.
Tokyo will have its Rockefeller Centre. Toranomon-Azabudai is a colossal project, designed as a unique district combining the complexity of a megalopolis and the intimacy of a small village in the heart of Tokyo. One of a kind. It will cover an area of approximately 8.1 ha, including 213,900 m² of office space and approximately 1,400 residential units. Approximately 20,000 office workers and 3,500 residents will work and live there, and 25 to 30 million people are expected to visit this ‘village in the city’ each year.
Above all, this new district will boast 24,000 m² of green space. Like a village, the project will be built around a greenery-lined square, creating an urban space where people will be ‘in harmony with nature while interacting with each other’, Japanese developer Mori Building, who initiated the project explains. Far more than a simple group of buildings, this project aims to ‘create an integrated social ecosystem’, the developer insists. An urban village in the heart of Tokyo.
A giant pergola
The district, currently being developed by Mori, will span eight hectares. It will also include three skyscrapers designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, the highest of which will become Japan’s tallest building at roughly 330 metres high. Its physical structures will incorporate cutting-edge seismic designs and technologies, as well as captive power plants that will supply the entire district with green electricity.
Major names in architecture are associated with this project: the public domain and architecture for the lower level were designed by Heatherwick Studio in the United Kingdom, designer and creator of the London 2012 Olympic cauldron. Thomas Heatherwick’s idea was to create a giant pergola filled with plants. ‘Since many new urban development projects around the world are rather harsh and sterile, we wondered if we could offer a more humane alternative,’ says Thomas Heatherwick, founder of the Heatherwick Studio. ‘This was achieved by integrating considerable vegetation and greenery around the buildings. Like a pergola that extends across the district.’
The three skyscrapers were designed by the American firm Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects under the direction of the late Cesar Pelli and Fred Clarke. The shopping area was designed by Sou Fujimoto, who was recently at a conference in Brussels. Other renowned architects such as Marco Costanzi or Soo K. Chan are also involved.