Sugamo Shinkin Bank, Tokiwadai Branch / Emmanuelle Moureaux Architecture + Design

© Nacasa & Partners Inc.

Architects: Emmanuelle Moureaux Architecture + Design
Location: , Japan
Project area: 656 sqm
Project year: 2010
Photographs: Nacasa & Partners Inc.

© Nacasa & Partners Inc.

Sugamo Shinkin Bank is a credit union that strives to provide first-rate hospitality to its customers in accordance with its motto: “we take pleasure in serving happy customers.” We handled the architectural and interior design for the bank’s newly relocated branch in Tokiwadai.

© Nacasa & Partners Inc.

By basing our design around leaf motifs, we sought to create a refreshing space that would welcome customers with a natural, rejuvenative feeling. The façade of the building features silhouettes of trees and an assortment of both large and small windows in 14 different colors arranged in a distinctive, rhythmical pattern that transforms the façade itself into signage.

plan 02

ATMs and teller windows are located on the first floor, along with 3 courtyards and an open space laid out with chairs in 14 different colors. The second storey houses the loan section, reception rooms, offices and 4 courtyards, while the third floor is reserved for facilities for staff use, including changing rooms and a cafeteria. Thanks to the 7 light-filled courtyards planted with trees and flowering plants, each of these spaces is loosely connected to all the others. A constellation of leaves in 24 different colors growing on the white branches of the walls and glass windows overlaps with the natural foliage of the real trees in the courtyards, creating the sensation of being in a magical forest.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Sugamo Shinkin Bank, Tokiwadai Branch / Emmanuelle Moureaux Architecture + Design" 09 Jun 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • Alexis Aquino

    I´m missing a mention to Le Corbu´s Notre Dame Du Haut Chapel on this description. Come on people, a little bit a humbleness!

  • Taylor Metcalf

    I was thinking the same thing, however I do not see the use of light in the interior as so elegantly displayed in Le Corbusier’s Du Haut Chapel. The exterior windows gave me the impression that I would see light patterns of varying shapes, sizes and colors on the inside, yet none of the pictures that I have seen show that effect.

  • ALadue

    While the colors and light wells are beautiful architecturally, does anybody feel that it’s possible that this “fun” atmosphere may make people feel uncomfortable seeing as money is something that people take very seriously? Even if this particular bank/credit union had the best reputation in town, would the new building even subconsciously affect the way people view their attitude toward business? Does this view maybe vary in different cultures?

  • Chris Murphy

    I think the facade is successful as a sign for the banking branch. However I’m not so sure if the lighting at night is as successful. The ground lighting is somewhat distracting and doesn’t seem to fit the building.

  • Taylor Metcalf

    The design definitely makes me feel like this is a place to drop of my kids for the afternoon rather than a place to store my money. However, I think that might be a good thing. Visitors might forget that they are in a bank and thus be happier to be there. As for money being something we take seriously, (and this thought might be a stretch) shouldn’t we feel comfortable leaving our money at a place with the persona of a place we would leave our kids? While I am not entirely sold on the design of this bank, I do think there is something strong about a playful looking bank.