zozo headquarters by hiroshi nakamura & nap + takenaka 


In Chiba, Japan, the headquarters of a local fashion e-commerce site emerges from the land with sweeping, sculptural forms. Designed by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP and Takenaka Corporation, the ZOZO office hub takes shape as a ‘regionally integrated office‘ that grows with and responds to the city. In other words, the surroundings are imagined as a headquarters extension where ZOZO employees can enjoy offsite cafés, parks, daycares, gym facilities, and more. This architectural approach translated to a compact form that consolidates most functions on the ground floor. 

the ZOZO headquarters emerges as three draping volumes in chiba, japan
all images © ZOZO



a sculptural roof seeking integration with the city 


On the southwest side, facing a road with heavy traffic and a high heat load, the teams at Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP (see more here) and Takenaka Corporation (and here) set the ZOZO headquarters back to provide green spaces and a plaza contributing to the cityscape. On the side facing Gakuen-Dori Avenue—a travel route for students from Chiba University’s main gate to a railway station— they established a column-free space and overhanging eaves of a floating roof that opens towards the north and south sides, seeking integration with the avenue. ‘It is said that fashion is born on the street these days, and this office is designed to help create habitual observation of the fashion and gestures of people on the street,’ note the architects.


Reflecting that vision are sweeping variations in ceiling height, from 2 to 8 meters, gradationally yielding both an airport-like public space and the privacy of a residence. In addition, the skip floors and roofs create different qualities of space, including shifts in sight lines, comfortable distances from one another, and spatial lighting, allowing workers to choose their ideal spot for work or other activities freely.

the ZOZO headquarters emerges as three draping volumes in chiba, japan
ZOZO is a Japanese fashion e-commerce site



‘a comfortable clothes-like architecture’


Construction-wise, the architects employed a semi-rigid suspended roof structure to obtain a large interior space free of columns or other structural elements. By having backstays and core columns on both ends of the building to support the horizontal tensile force generated in the suspended roof, they could compose a roof with a light appearance and a beam height of only 350mm, even over the larger span.


To provide a comfortable indoor environment for staff, they adopted an air circulation system that switches according to the season. In summer, cool air is distributed evenly in the space through non-combustible cardboard ducts throughout the roof. Cooled by the air, the vents themselves create a radiant cooling effect that essentially alleviates the thermal load from the roof. In winter, air diffusers on the floor efficiently supply airflow to only the occupied zone, ensuring comfort even in a large space with various levels.

the ZOZO headquarters emerges as three draping volumes in chiba, japan
a large interior space free of columns



The fibrous roofs and walls consist of three woven layers of slender lumber and drape voluminously like giant pieces of fabric that gently envelop people. The air conditioning/ventilation ducts and sound insulation material, made of paper installed behind the fibrous roofs and walls to create a pleasant thermal and acoustic environment, render this ‘a comfortable clothes-like architecture’ worthy of ZOZO.


As remote working has become a popular option, the process of commuting to an office has changed significantly—having space and time that allows one to naturally acquire a mindset and behavior that interrelate to corporate philosophy and business, and a sense of unity created from working with each other’s presence under one roof. Being able to share enthusiasm with one another and to indulge in close communications are the functions sought by this office,’ conclude the architects

the ZOZO headquarters emerges as three draping volumes in chiba, japan
creating ‘a comfortable clothes-like architecture’ within the ZOZO headquarters

the ZOZO headquarters emerges as three draping volumes in chiba, japan
three woven layers of slender lumber drape over like large pieces of fabric






project info:


name: ZOZO headquarters 

location: Chiba, Japan

architecture: Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP | @hiroshi_nakamura_naparchitects, Takenaka Corporation

structural design: KAP, Takenaka Corporation

completion date: December 2020

site area: 1,984 sqm 

total floor area: 3,622 sqm