Credit: DBOX for Mori Building Co.
Tokyo tower to become Japan's new tallest skyscraper
Construction has begun on a soaring tower that will become Japan's tallest skyscraper. The ambitious Toranomon-Azabudai project, in central Tokyo, aims to be "a city-within-a-city," according to the scheme's developers.
Of its three towers, the tallest will reach 330 meters (1,083 feet) in height, far surpassing the Abeno Harukas skyscraper in Osaka, currently Japan's tallest building at 300 meters (984 feet).
Images of the planned exterior show a sleek skyscraper with gently curving edges and a crown resembling flower petals. Two shorter, boxier towers will also be built on the site.
Spanning an area of more than 8 hectares, the project aims to redevelop and revitalize an entire neighborhood by 2023.
The developer, Mori Building Co., said the project will be a "modern urban village," with offices and apartments housing 20,000 employees and 3,500 residents. On-site facilities will include gyms, a new international school, shops, museums and 2.4 hectares of greenery.
The towers were designed by renowned architecture firm Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.
The residences' interiors are "based on the views and a certain kind of expected lifestyle in Japan," according to Singaporean architect Soo K. Chan, who worked on the project. Japanese homes are usually planned around service areas like kitchens, an idea that was incorporated into the design, Chan said in a phone interview.
The architect also said he paid close attention to detail and craftsmanship, both of which are traditionally valued in Japanese culture. "For Japan our design is understated luxury. There's emphasis on craft, which emphasizes the culture of Japanese design," he said.
The architecture firm's founders Cesar Pelli and Fred Clarke both played leading roles in designing the three towers' facades. The project was likely one of the last that Pelli worked on before his death in July.
Pelli built his reputation on innovative skyscrapers, having designed the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.
Japan was once known for its technological advances and rapid urban development, though many of its tallest skyscrapers were built before the turn of the century. Other countries have meanwhile raced ahead, constructing ever-taller skylines.
Japan's new tallest building will still be dwarfed by Taiwan's 508-meter (1,667-foot) Taipei 101 and the 541-meter (1,776-foot) One World Trade Center in New York. The Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, measures 828 meters (2,717 feet) -- more than twice the height of the planned Toranomon-Azabudai tower.
China, in particular, has built skyscrapers at a dizzying pace in recent years. A total of 88 buildings measuring 200 meters (656.2 feet) or above were completed in cities across China in 2018 -- more than anywhere else in the world, or at any other time in history, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)
Other countries are building at a more leisurely pace. The United States ranked a distant second in 2018, with 13 completed skyscrapers at 200 meters or above. Japan completed just 11 such buildings in the past decade, and none in 2018, according to the CTBUH.