Kugayama South Gate Building

This commercial building is located in the west part of central Tokyo, Japan, in the immediate vicinity of Kugayama station.

The area is rimmed with greenery, with hints of the hilly countryside of the past. To the south of the station, there are waterways such as Kanda River and Tamagawa Aqueduct, and to the north, there is a trace of an old pilgrimage trail. The site faces the gateway to an attractive shopping lane, opening its two sides to the public.

Exploring how the building can communicate with the site’s uniqueness was the starting point of the design, as these different values are synchronised into the project.

In the face of rapid modern development in the suburbs, there remains an innate desire to interact with the beauty of nature.

To capture that essence, a fractal tree shape is integrated into and repeated through the façade of the building, blurring the boundary between art and nature.

The tree shapes are functional too, acting as rainwater drainage, support for plants, and façade lighting. H beams are used as trunks, pipes as branches, and wires for plants.

The trunks provide multiple routes of rainwater drainage to minimise roof slab height and maximise rental space. Rainwater flows along the sides of the H beams into the basement reservoir, and is then pumped up for reuse in the building and as irrigation for the plants, before being drained into the river.

By openly showing the rainwater flow, the building is also integrated as part of the natural water cycle. The tree shapes will also evolve over years as the plants grow over them, making the building a continuous part of the surrounding landscape.

The special lustre on the aluminium cladding reflects the everchanging ambience at different times of the day, blending the building with the mature townscape.

Project Name: Kugayama South Gate Building
Location: 3-23-16 Kugayama, Suginami-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Completion Date: October 2017
Site Area: 429.46 square metres
Total Area: 953.60 square metres
Building Height: 3 storeys
Client: Shinko Shoji
Architecture Firm: Sasaki Architecture
Principal Architect: Ryuichi Sasaki
Other Architects/Designers: Gen Sakaguchi; Anna Kwapień
Lighting Design: Natsuha Kameoka, Lighting Sou
Metal Façade: Shinko Stainless Kemma Co, Ltd
Main Contractor: Magome Construction Company
Images: Takumi Ota

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