Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center
by Kengo Kuma and Associates

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Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

This visitor centre in Tokyo by Japanese architects Kengo Kuma and Associates looks like a stack of smaller buildings with sloping roofs.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Named the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center, the building is located near the outer gate to ancient Buddhist temple Sensō-ji, which was constructed in the sixth century and is the oldest of its kind in the city.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Horizontal slices divide the tower's eight main storeys, creating sloping ceilings in conference rooms and an exhibition space, as well as a tiered floor inside the multi-purpose hall.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Wooden louvres shade each of the four glass elevations and are spaced differently depending on the shade and privacy required by the rooms inside.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Surfaces inside the building are also timber-clad and balconies are located on two of the upper floors.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Kengo Kuma & Associates also recently completed a pharmacy and clinic  with plants sprouting through its facade - see it here.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

See more projects by Kengo Kuma & Associates »

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Photography is by Takeshi Yamagishi.

Here's some more information from Kengo Kuma & Associates:


In the corner premise of just 326sqm across Kaminari-mon Gate, the building was required to accommodate plural programs such as tourist information center, conference room, multi-purpose hall and an exhibition space.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

The center extends Asakusa’s lively neighborhood vertically and piles up roofs that wrap different activities underneath, creating a “new section” which had not existed in conventional layered architecture.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Equipments are stored in the diagonally shaped spaces born between the roof and the floor, and by this treatment we could secure large air volume despite its just average height for high-and medium-rise buildings.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Furthermore, the roofs not only divide the structure into 8 one-storied houses but also determine the role of each floor.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

First and second floor has an atrium and in-door stairs, creating a sequence from which you can feel the slope of the two roofs.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

On 6th floor, taking advantage of the slanted roof, we were able to set up a terraced floor with which the entire room can function as a theater.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

As angles of the roofs inclined toward Kaminari-mon and the heights from the ground vary from floor to floor, each floor relates differently to the outside, giving a unique character to each space.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Architects: Kengo Kuma & Associates

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Design team: Kengo Kuma, Teppei Fujiwara, Masafumi Harigai, Okayama Naoki, Kiyoaki Takeda, Masaru Shuku, Erina Kuryu, Hiroaki Saito

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Structural engineering: Makino Structural design
Electrical engineering: Kankyo Engineering inc.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Mechanical engineering: Kankyo Engineering inc.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Site supervision: Kengo Kuma, Teppei Fujiwara, Masafumi Harigai, Masaru Shuku, Erina Kuryu

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Lighting design: Izumi Okayasu Lighting design

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Curtain design: Ando Yoko Design
Sign design: TOKYO PISTO

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Client: Taito city
Site area: 326.23sqm

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Built area: 234.13sqm
Total floor area: 2159.52sqm

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Cost: 1,187,392,500 JPY (tax included)
Design phase: January 2009~January 2010
Construction phase: August 2010 - February 2012

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Materials:
Facade: Double glazing glass curtain wall, Wooden Louver
Roof: Galvalume steel sheet

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center by Kengo Kuma & Associates

  • http://twitter.com/burtja @burtja

    I really liked the Asakusa area of Tokyo – I did notice this project but it really doesn’t stand out as well as the images depict.

    • http://www.builtfabricblog.blogspot.com Rob

      You don't have to be an icon to be a good building.

  • Ryu

    It is a pile of … houses

  • H-J

    Can someone please give Mr Kuma a Pritzker…

  • http://uptodayarch.blogspot.com up_today_arch

    Nice design of tall building: a few houses one above another… perfect style!

  • architcl

    Not worth a Pritzker. If Kuma gets it, I guess there are a lot more worthy architects who need this recognition.

    • H-J

      My +5 beats your -1

  • http://www.renderofarchitecture.com Raul Alfaro

    Nice project. Curious, risky and personal composition of forms and volumes. Nice photos of the outside and inside spaces. Good use of materials, color and textures, specially wood and glass.