NIKKEN SEKKEI has renovated an office tower on a prominent corner plot in nishi-shinbashi, tokyo’s historic business district. the project, known as the ‘ARAKAWA building’, is defined by its dynamic façade that proudly presents the emergency stairs as a design feature. the architects sought to design a building that would be an attractive part of the city’s future urban fabric.

NIKKEN SEKKEI ARAKAWA
image © harunori noda (gankohsha)

 

 

‘in many buildings, the connection to the city is limited to the ground floor where most commercial facilities are located,’ explains NIKKEN SEKKEI. ‘on the other hand, spaces above the 2nd floor are completely cut off from the outside by the stereotypical façade. as a result, a characterless cityscape is created.’ to address this, all levels of the building are wrapped with emergency stairs, which are not only essential functional elements, but also create a series of ‘engawa’-like spaces.

NIKKEN SEKKEI ARAKAWA
image © harunori noda (gankohsha)

 

 

the unusual shape of the building also means that light is able to reach the narrow streets that surround the tower. in turn, this meant that another story could be added — maximizing the internal floor space. as the circulation routes have been positioned on the building’s exterior, the interior of the building has been freed up to offer more open, user-friendly spaces.

NIKKEN SEKKEI ARAKAWA
image © harunori noda (gankohsha)

 

 

in total, the building comprises nine stories. the lowermost levels contain commercial and retail outlets, while the next three stories are used as rental office space. floors 6-8 are used as the main offices for the client, araun co ltd. finally, the uppermost level has been designed as a residence for the company’s owner.

NIKKEN SEKKEI ARAKAWA
image © mariko kobayashi

 

 

NIKKEN SEKKEI says that the renovation project serves as an example for other buildings in tokyo that are nearing the end of their commercial life. ‘we believe that if each building focuses on its relationship with its surroundings, this could potentially lead to a more attractive and lively city,’ state the architects.

NIKKEN SEKKEI ARAKAWA
image © mariko kobayashi

NIKKEN SEKKEI wraps façade of ARAKAWA office building in emergency staircases
image © mariko kobayashi

NIKKEN SEKKEI wraps façade of ARAKAWA office building in emergency staircases
image © harunori noda (gankohsha)

NIKKEN SEKKEI wraps façade of ARAKAWA office building in emergency staircases
image © harunori noda (gankohsha)

NIKKEN SEKKEI wraps façade of ARAKAWA office building in emergency staircases
image © harunori noda (gankohsha)

NIKKEN SEKKEI wraps façade of ARAKAWA office building in emergency staircases
image © harunori noda (gankohsha)

NIKKEN SEKKEI wraps façade of ARAKAWA office building in emergency staircases
image © harunori noda (gankohsha)

 

 

 

project info:

 

name: ARAKAWA bldg.
address: shimbashi minato-ku, tokyo, japan
client: araun.co,ltd.
building use: office / commercial / residence
design / supervision: NIKKEN SEKKEI ltd
building contractor: fuji koumuten
site area: 139.51 sqm
building area: 123.02 sqm
total floor area: 824.81 sqm
number of stories: 9 stories above ground, rooftop elevator tower 1 story
eave height: 29.9m
maximum building height: 35.1m
structure: reinforced concrete structure
design period: 2015.2–2016.11
construction period: 2016.12–2018.3