Kasumigaseki Plaza Renewal
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Light Offers a Path to Recreation and Contemplation
Client Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.
Scope Landscape Architecture
Size 2.5 acres
Tokyo’s first high-rise and architectural landmark is located in the heart of downtown, where government and major private business offices are concentrated. Urban growth changed the dynamics of the building’s surroundings and left its public spaces ineffective and barren. The addition of new mixed-use buildings provided the owners with an opportunity to bring life to the plazas and re-brand the complex. An invited competition resulted in a vibrant public space for the entire Kasumigaseki neighborhood. The concept employed the use of metaphorical light “moats” evocative of those that protected the ancient city. Whereas the split level spaces were once an impediment to access, the new design joins retail interventions and public open spaces into a singular synergistic environment in which one can socialize or find contemplative space. Zelkova Plaza serves as the main entrance to the new Tokyo Club Building and its street level retail. Mature zelkova trees, a simple circular timber deck, public seating, a light wedge and a mist fountain space attract shoppers and office workers. The upper plaza serves as the Kasumigaseki Tower’s main entrance. A series of geometric landscape elements take their shape from the dynamic visual dialogue that emanates from the disparate building geometries that surround the plaza. A new glass retail pavilion with cafes and shops keep the space alive with activity. A parade of distinctive light wands imply direction through their architectural form and night-time illumination, converging on the plaza from three neighborhood and subway directions. Animated fountains, sculpture, and distinctive paving and planting patterns reinforce these settings as vibrant new public spaces for the neighborhood.