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Nihonbashi Urban Rejuvenation

Location: Muromachi,Chuo-ku,Tokyo,Japan


Use: Office,Retail Store,Theater

Site area: 2,454 m²

Total floor area: 40,363 m²

Structure: Steel structure,Steel framed reinforced concrete structure

Year: 2010

Use: Office,Retail Store,Theater,Residence

Site area: 3,723 ㎡

Total floor area: 62,472 ㎡

Structure: Steel structure,Steel framed reinforced concrete structure

Year: 2014

Use: Office,Retail Store

Site area: 1,945 ㎡

Total floor area: 29,238 ㎡

Structure: Steel structure,Steel framed reinforced concrete structure

Year: 2014

With Tatsuno Kingo’s Bank of Japan and Trowbridge and Livingston’s Mitsui Main Building (Mitsui Honkan) sandwiched by Yokokawa Tamisuke’s Mitsukoshi Department Store and Cesar Pelli’s Muromachi Mitsui Shinkan Building, the west side of Chūō-dōri, Nihonbashi is certainly lined with the neoclassical and modernist architecture that exemplified Westernization policies after the Meiji era. The east side of Chūō-dōri, however, is a finely divided periphery lined with old shops which used to be related to fish market that had existed here during Edo period until The Great Kanto Earthquake; the area retains an Edo atmosphere even today. With the town of Muromachi at its epicenter, Nihonbashi Urban Rejuvenation aimed for a renovation of Nihonbashi as a blueprint of Tokyo—a city that has undergone the Edo and Meiji periods up to the present—by integrating different cultural and historical contexts of the East and the West. From 2006, I was the master architect in the Muromachi district of Nihonbashi, as well as the designing architect for each individual building. With the recent reconstruction of the three high-rise buildings—Coredo Muromachi, Chibagin Mitsui Building, and the Furukawa Mitsui Building—the five liaison streetscapes of Chūō-dōri, Edo Sakura-dōri, Naka-dōri, Ukiyo-shōji, and Ajisai-dōri were also rejuvenated. In order for the street to retrieve its independence, the façade designs of the lower parts of these high-rise building had to be detached from the building itself because autonomy was an attribute of the street. Since the nature of high-rise buildings was seen as problematic in terms of contributing to the city’s continuity, each complex of the buildings was structured in three layers to overcome this issue, where the bases of the low-story sections were defined as the leading element to shape the street space. Following the example of the Mitsui Honkan Building, cornice lines and the rhythm of segmental large columns were retained for relatively large streets, such as the Chūō-dōri and the Edo Sakura-dōri. As for more human-scaled streets, such as the Nakadōri, replacing columniation by large and small eaves created a sense of horizontality. In addition, vertical lattices or columns in the style of medieval Japanese walls (Nobunaga-bei) were constructed in an attempt to recreate a traditional townscape. Formerly, the east and west sides of Edo Sakura-dōri had an image of being separated in the middle by Chūō-dōri. For this reason, a corner lantern was placed at its intersection with Chūō-dōri to establish a gate-like quality, and a rhythm of columns was extended to its east side to retrieve its element of continuity. A large eave was established on the three-blocked corner of Naka-dōri and Edo Sakura-dōri to create a crossroad hub. Likewise, because the northern façade of Furukawa Mitsui Building faces a park that extends to Fukutoku Shrine, Awaji tiles were stacked spontaneously (a technique known as kobazumi) for the façade to accommodate its historical context. Architecture and urban design are primarily considered to have precisely the opposite orientation; architecture has a strong tendency to inhabit a single concentric philosophy to meet its completed form, whereas urban design implicates various elements that coexist in a pluralistic manner. Nevertheless, Nihonbashi Urban Rejuvenation attempts to create streetscape by mediating the contradiction that remains between architecture and urban design.


(Before) Current situation photo_Chuo-dori.jpg


(Rear) Image perspective_Chuo Street .jpg

Conventional development


Street regeneration type

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