Architects: Klein Dytham architecture
Location: Shibaura, Tokyo, Japan
Client: TBWA/ Hakuhodo
Team: Astrid Klein, Mark Dytham , Yukinari Hisayama, Yoshinori Nishmura, Joe Keating
Contractor: D Brian, Masaya Tanimoto Totem
Project Year: 2007
The finished design for the new T/H office space was a creative adaptive reuse enterprise and a joint venture between TBWA, a global advertising company, and Hakuhodo, Japan’s second-largest advertising agency.
Their new office space is located in a rather atypical and unique building: a large, eight-story amusement complex in downtown Tokyo. The building, functioning primarily as a bowling alley and driving range on the upper and lower floors, had two vacant center floors available.
Once serving as a bowling alley, the long, column-free space selected by KDa provided some incredible design opportunities. Rather than negating the original use of the space, KDa embraced the linearity of the architecture and designed the office layout in conjunction with the predefined alleys.
The ceilings are double-height, with two-meter tall beams rhythmically running the length of the space. Lighting and air-conditioning were integrated seamlessly into the ceiling and between the beams, creating a smooth, clean white finish and soft, indirect lighting. Workspaces were also arranged between the beams, with white central walkways mimicking the overhead framework.
Truly the most delightful feature of the T/H office space is the design of the whimsical project rooms, meeting rooms and directors’ offices that are scattered throughout the space. They emerge from the wooden floor like small grassy knolls covered in soft moss. The shelters are also accessible from the top, allowing for casual and pleasant breakout spaces.
The office’s main entrance is on the sixth floor, acting as reception, gallery and meeting space for visitors. A wide staircase descends into a central park that runs down the center of the building. This large area offers stepped seating and a large plasma screen for presentations. The space itself is quite flexible as it is also used “for collaborative events with their clients such as receptions, fashion shows, [and] product launches often resulting in happy parties. Especially on ‘Beer Thursday’ when after hours all at T\H come together for a drink, a chat and a mingle!”
Although sections of the T/H office space adhere to the conventional needs of an office, such as the need for privacy, overall it is a very socially oriented space. The use of trees, exterior furniture, and materials and forms that reference nature give the space an amiable atmosphere. The design engages employees and visitors in spontaneous interaction within a relaxed and welcoming environment, as if you were strolling through the park and happened upon a friendly stranger.
A driving factor in selecting this space was TBWA’s mantra of “disruption.” KDa comments, “We felt that locating the new agency here would be a wonderful way to disrupt the agency’s clients’ expectations when they visit the space. It suggests that the agency “thinks different” even for themselves!”