Tokyo Sky Tree

To date, Nikken Sekkei has exerted the full force of its in-house multi-disciplinary experts, starting from the project planning at the setout of the project, then moving to the modulation of design planning, environmental assessment, district cooling and heating design, design modulation in correlation with the surrounding townscape and CG preparation. In the end, more than 100 architects, engineers and planners participated in the project design.
Let us introduce the design concept as core elements of the project.

Tokyo Sky Tree tower will be located close to Narihira Bridge and the Oshiage Area alongside the Sumida River, which was once at the center of the glorious Edo culture, in the eastern part of Tokyo.
The planning of the structure began in February 2005 when Tobu Railway Corporation expressed its desire to build a tower to both broadcasting services and administrative authorities of Sumida-Ward. At the start of this project, the client asked the designer in an opening remark to create in this area “an entirely new landscape beyond time and space.”
We, as the designer, kept thinking over the best way to meet the client’s expectation during the full four years of the design process.

Tokyo Sky Tree soars above Narihira Bridge and the Oshiage area in Sumida Ward, Tokyo Metropolis. It is surrounded by traditional downtown areas, such as Asakusa and Mukojima, and is at a key transportation hub where the Tobu Railway, metropolitan subways and water-buses busily operate.
This tower is basically intended to serve as a new-generation radio-wave transmission tower for ground-wave TV broadcasting, and also is expected to become a symbol of the redevelopment of the downtown combined with the maintenance of the area’s cultural tradition in association with Asakusa, a famous sightseeing spot rich in cultural traditions of the Edo era. Considering this background, we have studied how to closely relate the shape of the tower to the geography of this area.
The construction site is at the center of a triangular plane surrounded by the three axes, the Sumida River and Arakawa River, and, to the south, railway lines running in an east-west direction and trunk roads. Perpendicular to each axis, various streets converge toward the focal point at which the tower stands. So, the tower has been designed to have three gates, each inviting people coming down through these streets.

The footprint of the Sky Tree is an equilateral triangle, each side being about 68m. From three apexes, lines extend, while converging, up to 50m above grade, from which the lines further extend up to more than 600m. The ratio of length to width is approx. 9:1, thus forming a slender vertical shape.
The three legs, as seen in the lower portion, resemble a tripod kettle (having three legs similar to a tripod for camera, and self-standing anywhere with its own three legs), which was used ceremonially in ancient China, and give people looking at it a vague feeling of safety.
Also, the triangular shape smoothly leads to a structural analysis solution that is safe, yet has the fewest structural members. This not only reduces a feeling of oppression in the minds of neighbors, but also reduces the tonnage of structural steel used, both of which are beneficial to the environment.
Meanwhile, for the observatory, a round shape is selected, which is believed to be most suitable for looking over the vast expanse of the Kanto plain from the 360-degree periphery.
The tower thus created has a shape without precedent in the world, in which a rectangular plan on ground gradually changes to a circle plan at a super-high elevation.

The Sky Tree will create a typically memorable “distant view” when seen over the Sumida River. From nearby spots, unique shapes and a change in the vertical shapes, coupled with the warp and camber, will be appreciated as a “street view” from the streets running in various directions in this downtown area, and as “close view” at the three gates to the tower on the grade.
Such unique and changing views created by the tower are expected to synergize with the traditional graceful spirit (Iki) of the downtown alleys that has been cherished from the Edo era, along with freedom and originality of the residents, to create an atmosphere, as opposed to an atmosphere created by the tower itself.
A wave of excitement is spreading across the world, as the new landscape associated with the cultural atmosphere cherished in this area, is one way of expressing the theme of a landscape beyond time and space.

Description from the architects

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