NIKKEN SEKKEI wraps façade of ARAKAWA office building in emergency staircases

Feb 23, 2021

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.

‘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.

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.

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 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.

image © NIKKEN SEKKEI

image © NIKKEN SEKKEI

image © NIKKEN SEKKEI

image © NIKKEN SEKKEI

image © NIKKEN SEKKEI

image © NIKKEN SEKKEI

image © NIKKEN SEKKEI

image © NIKKEN SEKKEI

image © NIKKEN SEKKEI

image © NIKKEN SEKKEI

image © NIKKEN SEKKEI

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