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Landscape for office environments 9/9

2011.05.02

□ A large open space developed in the urban setting

Tokyo Midtown was established in 2007, and it is a composite urban district providing a fashionable town Roppongi another attractiveness. The 10 ha former JDA site was redeveloped to be open to public with the 4 ha open space. The selling point of the site is to enjoy open sky over spacious project site in the urban setting. A rich and gentle green corridor is extended to Hinokicho Park at the inner property. A famous American landscape architecture office EDAW took over the landscape design.

A remarkable characteristic of the landscape design is the sequence of attractive spacious project site and the gently winding corridor leading to the inner site. Besides beautiful scenery with existing and transplanted vegetation along the corridor, there is a museum designed by Tadao Ando and flat lawn plaza adjacent to the park, in which various events taken place to enjoy.

However, it is seemed something missing. Even though complex crisscrossing garden corridors observable from the aerial photograph would have visually attractive, it is rather ineffective for the sequence at eyelevel. Most of elements in the garden such as corridors, waterways, ponds, stones, or facilities have been executed in the rough that led lack of strong impression. It is remarkable conceptually and compositely, but it appeared careless in details. Nonetheless, the quality of the garden ended up an average level. It leaves a question how Japanese team communicated with the main team mostly consisting of foreigners in terms of working procedure. Communication between designers or transmitting individual images each other must emerge into a result as a final decision. Landscape design never could be completed work to impress people unless catching up and taking care of every single detail.

□ As a summery

We overviewed landscape designs in business environments through various projects for 40 years since 1970s. There was a time individual artists had hustled to create works colored with their own artistic viewpoints. There was an era that spaces previously categorized as exterior design reassigned to landscape design with broaden sensibility, as well as new urban design including artworks, or an era multi-disciplinary collaboration represented spacious project site within the high-density urban site. Various landscape works were released time-by-time, and still design activities by landscape architects keep going on in various themes.

Human being as a living creature perhaps could have been sensing modern urban environment would be a failed or temporal container. Tokyo metropolitan citizen against cold inorganic space in modernized urban setting might be indulgent themselves in ruthless life without communication. Nowadays people having lived through those periods start thinking about how to accomplish life in modern urban life and meanings of living in such situation. The cutting edge town-making clowned with environmental correction can be seen in such as landscape design at Osaki redevelopment project considering allocation of architectures by wind direction, and also Mitsubishi Ichigokan Garden where people would gladly perceive human being as a part of nature.

By revitalizing communication between nature and people or among people, the modern urban life can be restored. Then, landscape design comes to brighten it strongly. Like landscape vocabulary architects must utilize, one must correspond succession of forests, other words ecosystem if one consider their lives in urban setting. We as landscape architects must develop self-reliance so that we can make action to offer our society sophistication of place making. Now is the time to do so.

Yoshiki Toda

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