Public Redevelopment for the City of Tokyo by Heatherwick Studio by Christele Harrouk

Heatherwick Studio’s first built venture in Japan is a huge planted pergola, put in place to create a new hub for the district of Toranomon-Azabudai in Tokyo, Japan. The project is due for completion in March 2023.

The innovative redevelopment situated in the Minato City of Tokyo is expected to become an outstanding public district for the city, visited by almost 30 million people per year. Heatherwick Studio, based in central London, created the public realm and lower-level podium architecture, landscaping and retail for the site which includes a generous 6,000m² central landscaped square. The development commissioned by Mori Building Company will also include three towers by Pelli Clarke Pelli and retail designed by Sou Fujimoto. The overall experience will include offices, residential, retail, a school, a temple and power stations.

With a plot of more than 8 ha and a very irregular form, the architectural cabinet had a complicated constraint to work with. Creating a particular ambiance for the city with a contextual approach, they imagined a pergola-like building that can hold and unify different elements under its roof. Traditional Japanese craftsmanship was introduced in many design elements such as the Edo kiriko glass etching technique to highlight furthermore an explicit integration. Greenery will spread on the ground level and climb up to the curved slope-like structure, making the whole intervention very natural.

The firm has many projects under construction, 30 live projects in ten countries, including a new park and performance space, Pier55, in the Hudson River, New York and a new major headquarters for Google in both King’s Cross and Silicon Valley (in collaboration with BIG). The studio is also working on the design of Changi Airport’s new Terminal 5 in Singapore (with KPF) which will add an initial capacity of up to 50 million passengers per year.