2.7-metre-wide office block slotted into Tokyo alley
A studio in Japan squeezes a 2.7-metre-wide office block into an alley between two buildings.
SO&CO has slotted a skinny office building into an alley between two buildings in Tokyo, Japan, which contains five tiny concrete workspaces.
Named the Multi-Tenant Building in Ginza, the office block is located on a narrow L-shaped plot on a densely-packed backstreet in one of the city's leading shopping districts.
It has a stark concrete facade designed by SO&CO to stand out against the backdrop of the 'solid and unattractive' buildings that typically occupy these side streets, to grab the attention of passersby.
"From the main streets in Ginza, there are uncountable alleys that radically differ from the idea people usually have of this area – transparent facades and fashionable – and are mainly composed by solid and unattractive buildings," explained the studio's founder, So Teruuchi.
"Being the site in one of those, we felt that, in the middle of this packed area it would be necessary to create an iconic building that makes people look up, like a bell tower."
To maximise space within the tight constraints of the site, SO&CO divided the building into two adjoining volumes that slot into the site's L-shaped form. The smallest volume, which faces the street, is just 2.7 metres wide.
The entrance is marked by a narrow walkway that punctures the facade, designed to evoke the feeling of entering the alley that has been replaced. This is enhanced by the giant windows placed throughout the building, which frame the walls of the buildings either side.
The narrow entrance leads into a bright circulation space at the heart of the office block, which connects the two volumes via a four-storey open-tread staircase.
Lined with glass walls and topped by a skylight, this stairwell also doubles as a lightwell, feeding light into the five office spaces, that are split over the four storeys.
The interior finishes of each office is characterised by the exposed concrete structure. This is designed by SO&CO to form a minimal backdrop to the belongings of each tenant, while the shared stairwell is hoped to be used as a shared showroom or exhibition space.