Making the best use of the building site on a corner with a large corner cutting, I gave the five-story building the characteristic form of a cylinder. Since the site faces a broad railroad, its circumferential continuous windows were made of glass blocks for both perfect sound insulation and good lighting. The entrance hall on the first floor, though very small, has a fountain to give richness to everyday going in and out. The building was designed as the head office for a real estate company, but now is used by ‘Tokyo Shule’, a free-school for truant children, who love round rooms much more than punctiliously square.

DATA ; Five-story reinforced concrete building / Location : Kishi-machi, Kita-ku, Tokyo / Design : Takeo Kamiya architect and associates, January - June 1989 / Structural design : Isamu Suga / Mechanical design : Hiroaki Higashi/ Electrical design : Shoichi Yamazaki / Furniture : Suruga Isho / Construction : Izumi Construction, August 1989 - November 1991 / Site area : 152 square meters / Total floor area : 534 square meters / Magazine : "Kenchiku Sekkei Shiryo 33" Urban small building / Photographs : Isao Imbe

2nd floor plan


The site is convenient in transportation, near the Ohji railway station, but its surroundings are not ordered, being difficult to say a beautiful environment. In addition, it faces a broad area of rail roads, such as the Tohoku Main Line, the noises of which demand firm sound insulation. In contrast with these minus factors, being a corner site at an intersection, though small, was judged to be favorable for lighting and form-giving.

The owner operates a small real estate company in front of Ohji railway station. Although it was not necessarily urgent to own the head office, he decided to erect a building there because of the vacancy of the site and a need to replace some assets for business. As he was still wavering until the half way of the construction whether it would be for own use or for rent, he wanted that the floors should be changeable to rental use any time but to be designed in high-grade for the headquarters.

Putting the characteristic shape of the site with a large corner cutting to planning use, I made the building in the form of a cylinder, gathering the elevator shaft, staircase, and wet area into southwestern side. The office spaces are open to the east with horizontally long belt of windows to get enough light and effective sound insulation by being made of glass blocks.

Owing to secure a parking space for the maximum number of cars on the first floor, the entrance hall became a minimum size. I set instead a water basin with a fountain there to compensate it, hoping everyday passing through the hall become more impressive and pleasant.

The office spaces from the second to the fifth floors were designed to be able to use independently both spatially and technically in various equipment, considering the convenience of floor rentals. On the other hand, each room was meticulously designed to follow the then allocated use to avoid the homogeneity of all floors, such as general office, reception room, and conference room.
As a result, partly because their small scale, they became residence-like office spaces, while as the real estate business is a kind of information industry, each office space has double floors containing wiring space to make it possible to equip machinery anywhere.

Entrance hall       Staircase       Elevator hall

Despite an office building, I did not want to make it a series of inorganic work space, intending house-like soft interior design, including the selection of furniture. I gave a theme color to each floor: blue to the second floor, green to the third, brown to the fourth, and gray to the fifth.
Most furniture is made of wood, disliking stiff steel-made. Special ordered furniture, such as large desks, lockers, and conference table, were all designed by the architect.

As for the entrance hall and elevator hall, their walls and floors are overall dressed with ocher-colored travertine with red one at some points for accents. The astral pattern of the water basin is the leitmotif of this building, also emerging on the travertine floors, windows, doors, and even on furniture.

© Takeo Kamiya
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