Recent developments in the Omotesando shopping district of Tokyo incorporate the spectacular design of new boxshaped buildings, each with a magnificent façade and a modest interior. Most of the buildings are flagship stores for major fashion brands. They seem to concentrate on the quality of their skins and façades. Why not pick up the thread of earlier developments that began in 1985 with the Spiral Building by Maki and continued in 2001 with the YM Square building in Harajuku? These designs focused on the vertical movement of visitors, and are more public and less exclusive than fashionable ‘name-brand’ buildings.
The programme points to a building that can serve one or several users. It must therefore communicate on two scale levels: the level of the building as a whole and the level of the individual shops inside.
By gradually twisting the floor plates around a central atrium, a series of terraces emerge, connected by stairs and elevators that are positioned outside the volumes. They create an identical pair of vertically stepped, terraced streets, one on each side of the core. One travels up from Omotesando Street, the other down to Cat Street. These two public routes are connected via shops at every level throughout the block.
The exterior of the building produces a highly iconic and sculptural form; a building that attracts and invites people, not only to the street level, but also to companies and destinations at higher levels.
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