Office Life – distribution warehouse and offices

Office Life – distribution warehouse and offices – Brief Article

Catherine Slessor

Precisely executed with an inventive materiality, this little building by a young practice combines offices and warehouses for a publisher in the heart of Tokyo.

Atelier Bow-Wow are a young partnership based in Tokyo, who combine teaching with practice. Partners Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima are particularly fascinated by the evolving urban character of Tokyo, and their survey of the city’s hybrid buildings (p80), is an enthralling study of how architecture is obliged to adapt and mutate. Their own work is distinguished by a precise formalism and austere use of materials (more Swiss than japanese in its elegant reductivism), but it also attempts to re-evaluate given conditions in an attempt to achieve a more responsive urbanism.

Having completed a series of modest family houses (the usual launch pad for young practices), their most recent project is a distribution warehouse and offices for a publishing company in the Suidobashi district of central Tokyo.

Hemmed in by structures on three sides, the building is a crisply cubic volume that combines blue and white collar functions. Offices are on the ground floor, with two floors of warehouse space above. Columns are set around the perimeter to create uninterrupted floor areas. Service and circulation elements animate the main facade; activities glimpsed through a broad band of glazing suggest something of the building’s inner life. The interior is necessarily industrial, but enlivened by thoughtful details. Warehouse spaces are sprayed with rockwool for fireproofing, giving walls a papier mache-like texture. Stairs are made of thin steel plate, translucent polycarbonate sheeting forms partitions and a citrus-coloured lift zips up and down. Economically executed with a sense of inventiveness, this little building consolidates Atelier Bow-Wow’s growing reputation.





Ateller Bow-Wow, Tokyo

1 Crisply geometric Street frontage is animated by exposed circulation and service elements.

2 Translucent polycarbonate sheet forms internal partitions in the ground floor offices.

3 Typical warehouse floor.

4 Industrial lift with its bright orange Interior is a bold presence.

COPYRIGHT 2001 EMAP Architecture

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group