Text description provided by the architects. Alleyways
Approximately 10 years ago, Daikanyama’s scenery changed drastically with the disappearance of the Dojunkai Apartment building. However, this area called Daikanyama Machi has escaped the wave of redevelopment and maintains its status as a Category 1 residential area with 60% building area and 300% floor-area ratio. The several alleys that extend from the valley path known as Castle Street down to Hachiman Dori on the ridge are a unique feature of this town. The narrow and stepped slopes are free from automobiles and spotted with cafes and shops housed in old renovated buildings. Thanks to these alleys, visitors to this town can taste the delight of small discoveries. This is the town where this 1 basement + 4 story building sits.
40% vacant space
The challenges in this design were to create 40% of vacant space on the property and to lure visitors to the upper floor without the use of an elevator. After repeated studies on sunshine restrictions, we settled at placing the building on the southwest side and creating open space on the northeast side. We wanted to make this vacant lot sitting inside the space between two buildings look like another one of the alleyways unique to this city. We looked forward to seeing people wandering in out of curiosity of what lies there. Of course, the vacant alley-like space is a dead end that leads nowhere but at the end it is a retaining wall made from Ohya stone. For me, the mossy wall sitting in this ever changing city was an important presence engraved with the history of this city. The stairs leading up to the upper floor was placed facing this wall as if gouging into the building exterior. A view of the city and its surroundings is exposed more with every floor traveled up. Meanwhile, onlookers also realize that there is a mansion surrounded by green sitting inconspicuously on top of these walls.
Continuity of vertical directions
I believe that the continuity of vertical directions in such sequential space shares common values with TEM, KEM, and KES. However, the discovery of staircase alleys as seen in Daikanyama was of great significance. When going up and down the stairs of DST, I hope that visitors will feel the changes of weather and season and shift their eyes to the city of Daikanyama today and the cluster of new and old buildings breathing inside this city.