The Ice Cubes / Jun Mitsui & Associates Architects

© Naoomi Kurozumi

Architects: Jun Mitsui & Associates Architects
Location: Tokyo,
Design Team: Jun Mitsui, Yukinobu Nakano, Kentaro Hayashi, Jim Lambiasi, Kazumasa Toku, Naoko Morimoto, Shigeki Irie, Ei Ishiyama
Project area: 3,060 sqm
Project year: 2006 – 2008
Photographs: Naoomi Kurozumi

© Naoomi Kurozumi

This project was commissioned by a Hong Kong-based developer for whom we previously designed two high-end retail projects (in Akasaka and Omotesando). The site constraints, including sky-openess factor (tenku-ritsu) and sun/shadow requirements were very restrictive. Careful calculations were done to arrive at the best balance of forms while satisfying the regulations and achieving the maximum FAR. By developing the formal strategy as a series of interlocking cubes, we were able to massage the complicated building envelop shape into a dynamic composition.

elevation 01

This strategy solved not only the complex building form but also gave the freedom of adjusting the forms according to the additional building programs and structural considerations.

© Naoomi Kurozumi

An important design requirement was for the cubes to appear feather light and thin. We performed careful studies to make the structure and insulation look as thin as possible. The cube surfaces are covered with a baked ceramic frit pattern on the outer-most surface of the glazing. By doing so, a pure-white cube expression can be achieved. Had the frit been applied on an inner surface, the color of the cubes would have been greenish due to the green tint of the glass. All necessary technical studies for maintenance and durability of the outer-most surface frit pattern were resolved with the manufacturer who was then able to provide a ten year warranty.

© Naoomi Kurozumi

The resulting image is silky and feathery which attracted the main tenant H&M, a Swedish apparel company who values the high-impact design.

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Cite: "The Ice Cubes / Jun Mitsui & Associates Architects" 27 Apr 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • Allan

    In my opinion this tower is different and weird. But not bad. I think it suites in Tokyo.

  • ariana roberts