Escenario SHIROKANE (Sasaki Architecture)

This project has a triple role of residential, retail, and office spaces within the building complex. Located in Shirokane, Minato ward in Tokyo, it is located at a corner of a four-way intersection on Gonohashidori — a street which extends to the south of Furukawa River.


While at first glance the street may seem to have an old-fashioned touch to it, it is not as narrow as what the traditional Japanese streets may be seen as — and both facades of the building may be seen from a far distance. For this reason, it was important to design the project to portray the architectural structure as an iconic presence on the street.

The five-story building’s exterior is composed of RC (reinforced concrete) bearing walls, with a shimmering surface in the light — achieved through the effect of the shifting stainless-steel panels and concrete spirals design. This composition of the facade allows the shadows falling on the street to shift depending on the time of day and seasonal changes, allowing for a wide variety of expressions.

This design is appropriate for the lively Shirokane town and allows residents, visitors, pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers to catch the reflections of their vitality. While the first floor of the building consists of restaurant units, accessed through a glass sliding door entrance, the second to fourth floors each have two residential units. Finally, on the fourth floor, an entrance to a staircase leads up to the fifth-floor maisonette, which consists of office space.

These units range from a one-person studio to one-bedroom apartments with living, dining, and kitchen spaces. These units are designed to have large openings in square forms in order to recreate the effect of space, light, and wind. To create a simple design with a minimal amount of waste, and a high degree of spatial freedom within the architectural structure’s composition, the assistance of sliding walls enables the bedroom and the living room to be used as one single unit.

To emphasize the contrast of the materials, white and concrete walls are used. The spatial relationship between the room areas is therefore designed to meet the individual needs of each resident, compromising a flexible structure. Additionally, the maisonette design, consisting of a two-story, 3.7 meter high ceiling with a loft space, may also be used not only as an office space — but also as a residential area.

The playful use of materials in the spatial flexibility is based on the idea of minimalism in relation to the building’s surrounding environment, providing a rich and unique experience. A lifestyle with the sense of liberating freedom in space allows the residents to take the leading role in controlling the space.

The dialogue between the existing architecture and the surrounding environment is firmly established through the various use of materials and the architectural structure design of the residence unit itself.

Project outline:

Project Name: Escenario SHIROKANE

Building Purpose: residential housing, restaurant, office

Location: Shirokane, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Site Area: 90.97m2

Building area: 71.81 m2

Total floor area: 346.12 m2

Structure: reinforced concrete

Completion Date: November 2020

Project credits:

Architects: Ryuichi Sasaki / SASAKI ARCHITECTURE + Rieko Okumura/YTRO DESIGN INSTITUTE

Design Team: Ryuichi Sasaki, Gen Sakaguchi, Yuriko Ogura / Sasaki Architecture

Producer: Hidetaka Gonai / Escenario Co., Ltd

Structure Engineer: Tatsumi Terado / Tatsumi Terado Structural Studio

Client: Nobumitsu Ohashi / Shukou Kensetsu Co., Ltd

Light Design: Natsuha Kameoka / Lighting Sou

Metal: Shinko Stainless Polishing

Photography: Takumi Ota Photography, Bauhaus Neo

About Sasaki Architecture

Led by Ryuichi Sasaki, Sasaki Architecture is an architecture studio based in Tokyo, Japan. We seek to re-interpret architecture’s position within cultural practices that determine to mean, particularly within the will of our era.

Ryuichi Sasaki (Director CEO, Principal Architect, SASAKI ARCHITECTURE)

1970 Born in Tokyo, Japan
1989-1994 Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, USA, Bachelor of Architecture
1994-1995 Columbia University, NYC, USA, Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design
2007 AR Awards for Emerging Architecture 2007 “Commended” (Architectural Review, London, UK)
2016, 2017, 2019, 2020-21 ABB Leaf Awards, Shortlisted

2018, 2020-2021 WAF Awards, Finalist

2021 The Plan Award 2021, Winner

2021 The OPAL Awards 2021, Platinum Winner


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