Best Tall Building 100-199 meters Award of Excellence: Museum Tower Kyobashi, Tokyo

Masanori Yano
Design Director, Architectural Design Department

Hiroshi Ishibashi
Nagasaka Corporation, Tokyo

A Tower that Reinforces Cultural and Historical Precedents

Museum Tower Kyobashi was built for corporate offices, and to provide a new home for a venerable Tokyo art museum. The major directives for the project were to create a horizontal open plan that merges the building with the surrounding urban context, and to vertically unite the two components, so that daily users and visitors would experience seamless integration. Each of the box forms has its unique function, materiality, and environmental performance characteristics. At the same time, they are collectively integrated in a consistent vertical design. Purposefully respecting the cultural and physical history of the area, which dates back to the Edo period, the scheme reinforces the area’s traditional “block and road” pattern.

The design of the lower levels was inspired by the tightly-woven streets and wide-open spaces of the Kyobashi district. The signature curved element of the top is the form of a 62-meter-radius sphere removed from the tower’s box-like form. The louvered façade design gives a unique, animated character to the building exterior, while raising the functional and environmental value of the interior. Based on computational analysis of numerous environmental parameters, each louver consists of six aluminum frames of the same profile, jointed at different angles, and placed in random positions. Through reflection and diffusion, they assist in shading, and continuously adapt to changing sunlight, saving energy, decreasing glare on the building’s façade, reducing wind pressure, and minimizing city noise. A 28-meter-span structural system provides for uninterrupted floor plates, flexibility, ease of circulation, and an overall sense of spaciousness. Skygardens on the top and mezzanine levels are positioned in a three-dimensional composition, offering a place of calm in the center of Tokyo.

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