Architecture on Demand is a residential project in the centre of Tokyo, which aims for adaptability and free will.
Architecture On Demand
The design of this graduation project shows the manifestation of Neo-Metabolism. Its architecture is build upon three core values: density, honne and free will.
Density takes into account the dense urbanisation of Japan. The density of the build environment in Tokyo forces structures to stretch out in a vertical manner: high rise buildings and underground malls. Architecture on Demand finds another direction of expansion by claiming the unused city space. Rhizomatically (non-hierachical system much like the root structure of the bamboo plant) it pops up in-between the existing city structure, creating usable space atop rooftops and broad avenues. These huge structures are residential areas, all containing multiple households. The achieved density here is higher than Tokyo’s average households per square meter.
Honne is a bit more difficult and revolves around the idea that privacy reveals your own self versus the impenetrable wall you build around yourself while in public space (for more on honne and tatemae go to Research – Society & Anthropology further on in this volume). My goal here is to break down this wall by blurring the line between honne and tatemae. By doing so it will extend the feeling of freedom and stimulate to act on your own true behalf even in public space.
To blur the line of this honne and tatemae, the architecture plays with boundaries of space. The most literal one being the use of translucent materials in facades, walls and floors. It means that light from another space is able to pass through the translucent boundary, preserving that a connection with the outside remains.
The other applied tactic is the use of shared space. Architecture on Demand erects huge elevated platforms, creating a new ground level. This new ground level is a shared and semi-public space where people can pass through while the inhabitants may use it as their own living room.
Free will is represented in adaptability and flexibility. Architecture on Demand provides controllability of the built environment, by having the opportunity to position, reposition and expand your living space. The open ground floor plan provides the opportunity for having multiple different usages and configurations. A fitting example is the living-unit. A living-unit is a compact living room with mobility and the ability to fold, unfold and expand. It is applicable in multiple situations and can comply to different needs of the user.
The option of privacy is mainly given in the private-units, which are separated from the living-units by floating above the open ground floor. These are individual units for retreat, while having the flexibility to unfold certain elements like parts of the facade which in turn breaks the harsh boundary of privacy in your private unit.
The megastructures of Architecture on Demand show a new, free and transparent way of living. In spirit the architecture resembles Woods’s ‘Free Zone’ while in presence it shows the adaptability of Metabolism. Combined they form the inspiration for a more honest / honne Japanese society, Architecture on Demand.