Designed by GENETO, a Japanese firm,the Ivy Building is quite complex to the effect that the program changes so frequently. Although a small scale building, the programmatic needs shift from retail to office to residential, yet a wrapping staircase connects the fragment pieces into a whole. ”We wanted to create a new type of building by combining different kinds of program and propose a building that is opened to the society,” explained the architects.
When addressing circulation, at first, the stairway was a compact space in plan, but as a volume, it was difficult to place. The architects then moved to design a more linear progression of stairs that wrap the building. With this scheme, the stairs become the focal point of the design as all can see and experience the movement.
The addition of a gallery instills a cultural program to the stairs because it is open to the public and the people can walk up to the higher floors. ”A sensuous and physical contact will occur between the people visiting and working there,” explained the architects. Adding another usage to the stairway makes a strong connection between the ground and the higher floors.
The exterior, a steel mesh with ivy, is treated uniformly as a way to “strengthen the unity of the building.” Although ivy on a retail commodity is rare, the ivy was chosen more for its perceived feeling of warmth and welcome.