Miracles in Tight Spaces

The DST building, designed by aat + makoto yokomizo architects is located in the area of Daikanyama Machi in Shibuya, Tokyo which has escaped the wave of redevelopment, maintaining its status as a Category 1 residential area with 60% building area and 300% floor-area ratio.  the several alleys that extend from the valley path known as Castle Street down to Hachiman Dori on the ridge are a unique feature of this town.  The narrow and stepped slopes are free from automobiles and spotted with cafes and shops housed in old renovated buildings. Visitors of this town can delight in small discoveries thanks to the unique geography of the neighborhoods.

A word from the designers:

The challenges in this design were to create 40% of vacant space on the property and to lure visitors to the upper floors without the use of an elevator.  After repeated studies on sunshine restrictions, we settled at placing the building on the southwest side and creating open space on the northwest side.  We wanted to make this vacant lot siting inside the space between two buildings look like another one of the alleyways unique to this city.  We looked forward to seeing people wandering in and out of curiosity of what lies there.  of course, the vacant alley-like space is a dead end that leads nowhere, but at its end is a retaining wall made from Ohya stone.  For me, the mossy wall sitting in this ever changing city was an important presence engraved with the history of this city.  the stairs leading up to the upper floors were placed facing this wall as if gouging into the building exterior.  A view of the city and its surroundings is exposed more with every floor traveled up.  Meanwhile, onlookers also realize that there is a mansion surrounded by green sitting inconspicuously on top of these walls.