ATLAS       1996

 

A General Solution for the Townscape: Diversity through Simple Principles

ATLAS housing MAKOTO SEI WATANABE

ATLAS housing MAKOTO SEI WATANABE

ATLAS housing MAKOTO SEI WATANABE

Tokyo Residential District: Toward an Optimal New Image

The suburb of Ogikubo, where this building stands, is 15 minutes by express train from Shinjuku, one of Tokyo's largest transportation terminal hubs.
It is a town of small, single-family dwellings.

Partly as a result of Japan's tax laws, residential land tends to be broken up into increasingly smaller units each time it passes from one generation to another, and so housing sites have a general tendency to grow smaller.

In this suburb, however, that process has largely reached its limit, so now the process is reversing and beginning to cluster together into an increasing number of multi-unit dwellings.

So in a locale once characterized mainly by street-after-street of small-scale, larger scale structures are beginning to loom on the landscape.

And yet, no one has presented any kind of plan suggesting what the townscape ought to be made to look like.
It is just an ordinary residential district, quite unlike the streets of traditional Kyoto with their two-story wooden houses, nor the bustling business district bristling with super high rises of Shinjuku, nor the commercial center of Shibuya with its shops and entertainment places bursting with untrammeled energy.
It is a town that knows it has to change but doesn't know what new identity it wants to acquire.

Such towns can be found in many places throughout Tokyo, or Japan, or Asia, for that matter.
They are towns groping for a new image of themselves. It is in this kind of town that this building took shape.

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