Studio in Yoyogi-Uehara
location: Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
number of stories: 6 story
site area: 54.70㎡
total floor area: 158.61㎡
In the past, Ohyamacho and Yoyogi-Uehara were famous as beautiful residential districts, but recently an inheritance tax has forced residents to subdivide and sell-off their property, creating a mish-mash of the neighborhood.
Inokashira (Dori) Avenue, built after the Second World War, runs east west through a radial pattern of shopping area streets, with a railway station at the center. It has become a short-cut for passing traffic, and recently it was decided that the width old Inokashira Avenue would be doubled to accommodate increased traffic flow. The government embarked on a program of compulsory purchase of all the properties along this street. However, this has had a detrimental effect on the character of the neighborhood, and the surrounding sites were cut to pieces. This site is a typical example of this policy. The original square shaped site, which faced on to an old shopping street was trimmed to a wedge and the previous inhabitants were forced to move out.
The program required a design studio presenting a rational and elegant face to Yoyogi-Uehara, but I also wished to reveal the government’s brutality towards the area, and to develop a proto-type for new street edges of similar circumstances. The sharp, flat edge of the building expressed the brutal cut made by the government, between the site line and the street. I strongly hope that the cornice line of adjacent buildings will not be determined by the ubiquitous building angle law, but be respected by future architects, and kept to the same height as this building, so that a balanced skyline is formed.