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Landscape for office environments 2/9

2011.04.07

□ Landscape as a personal work

Landscape design in Japan as traditional Japanese garden has had honorable accomplishment in its history that, along with architects, has created various works in public since the modern era. Intentionally designed cityscape, especially the business environment, however, started from relatively recent 1970s. In the range of landscape architectural work, still there is a genre named outward structural construction, which aims to design spaces instead of the architecture within a property in order to enhance the aesthetic appearance of the architecture.

Here, I would like to introduce former creators as landscapers for the outward structural construction having accomplished in such harsh circumstance and produced landscape architectural works in business environments in 1970s.

First of all, Koki Fukaya (1926-1997) and Yoshikuni Araki (1921-1997) should be mentioned as former creators, who build up outward structural construction around high-rise buildings with the top-notch sensibility during the high economic-growth period in Japan. Even though they as landscape architects contributed their exceptional works to the field of landscape architecture as well as had educated many disciples, there are limited numbers of references describing their ideas and works. Thus, it is impossible to picture their aspects comprehensively, however, it is grateful to portray their works from those references and spatial inspirations here.

□ Works by Koki Fukaya

Because of his strict character reflected on his works, Koki Fukaya was called “lone one” and he was a landscape architect, who categorized his field of the work as “the outer space” that implied his standing point as more than the hem of landscape architecture.

His masterpiece “Pioneer Woods Promenade, Keio Plaza Hotel (1977)” placed at a corner of high-rise buildings by the west exit of Shinjyuku Station, is an oasis in the city. Fukaya had built up the space designated with, not just simple greenery but Musashino pioneer woods, which symbolize nature of Tokyo where continuous sheer solid cityscape keeps ignoring human-scaled environment.

Original seamless space soften with solid materials like Shirakawa stones were utilized on slopes, plaza, and paths, contrasted with architectural plan varied in elevations. Fertility of the pioneer woods inexpressive with artificial structures as well as urbanized quality masonry possesses in the place privileged functionally has given visitors a quite fresh impression.

The way Fukaya dealt with stone materials has a specific character in creation of various sceneries within the limited space by controlling perception on feet, transition of shades of plants, and lighting directions that were arranged in details of height, volume, and finishes of stone materials. This detailed expression in Japanese aesthetic is common in the way sculptor, Masayuki Nagare specialized to utilize carefully as “shine or crack.”

On the other hand, Hitotsubashi Building (former Bank of Tokyo, Kurita Building) is the work recognized Fukaya as a sculptor. Contrasted with Keio Plaza Hotel with high spatial quality, this work was clearly recognized in expression for morphological disposition. As a work mounted within the property, it has quite valuable as the work revealing a vivid trait of the creator. However, it is true that the work has a lack of enough contribution to cityscape and significance as a total landscape leading a meaning of the place.

Nowadays, there still are in many ways influences of Fukaya for landscape architects working actively in a first line. It is assumable that dealing with modernized design style as well as motivated as an artist and respect to Japanese aesthetic Fukaya deeply had laid in his works keep impressing new generations.

Yoshiki Toda

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