architecture in japan: tokyo-based firm rei mitsui architects was commissioned with a local project that included the renovation of a kanban-style building remaining at the nihonbashi district. this style is representative of the early showa period, the period of japanese history corresponding to the reign of the shōwa emperor, hirohito (1926-1989). the three-story structure includes a ground floor typically used as retail space with a display window at the storefront. the client’s request was simple: first, to keep the façade of the billboard architecture; second, to enforce seismic retrofit to resist earthquakes.

rei mitsui architects kanban style architecture renovation tokyo designboom
the design aimed to preserve the original façade
all images by jérémie souteyrat 

 

 

 

rest mitsui architects found the existing building to be abandoned and with disastrous damage, and although it seemed impossible, the client strongly wished for the building to remain. to do so, the firm decided to lift-up the whole building and to reconstruct its foundation and damaged elements. in order to add the earthquake-resisting parts to the structure, they used an arched frame made of ductile cast iron so that the façade wouldn’t be disturbed.

rei mitsui architects kanban style architecture renovation tokyo designboom
the building is an example of remaining tiny billboard architecture in tokyo

 

 

 

the arch is made of woven shapes that result from the structural analysis where the diameter of each stripe transforms smoothly to follow the internal stress. casting was the most efficient way to produce the numerous parts, especially due to its complicated and decorative shape. the material selected also has a rough and warm texture which suits the existing old timber structure.

rei mitsui architects kanban style architecture renovation tokyo designboom
view from main street

rei mitsui architects kanban style architecture renovation tokyo designboom
thin and light, each arch weighs only 55 kilograms

rei mitsui architects kanban style architecture renovation tokyo designboom
woven-like shapes resulted from the structural analysis made with grasshopper

rei mitsui architects kanban style architecture renovation tokyo designboom
the ground floor is for rent

rei mitsui architects kanban style architecture renovation tokyo designboom
detail

rei mitsui architects kanban style architecture renovation tokyo designboom
entrance door to the residential space

rei mitsui architects kanban style architecture renovation tokyo designboom
residential space

rei mitsui architects kanban style architecture renovation tokyo designboom
loft space: bedroom

rei mitsui architects kanban style architecture renovation tokyo designboom
before renovation

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: juliana neira | designboom

  • the imagination of the client and architect/engineer were well matched making a great project!

    Rich says:
  • Those frames are simply beautiful. I can see a ‘modern’ replacement for the Kentucky barn beams with many potential uses, structural and decorative. My wife has been asking for a decent pergola.

    Jim

    JimCan says:

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