Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Journey Sketches

Love Hotel Study

Axonometric drawings showing the spatial layout of the Love Hotel in Shibuya, Tokyo. These drawings are still in progress and are parts of a drawing catalogue showing components and spaces of the hotel. 

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Monday, 15 December 2008

Monday, 8 December 2008

Department Store / Tokyu

Tokyu Department Store (TDS) at Shibuya, Tokyo

Three train lines runs through the building. TDS was also built over the Shibuya River so it was impossible for the building to grow towards the ground.Every giant floorplate has a different floor material and every floor is lit according to its programme. Even the climate changes through moving in the building.

Internal Organisation

Internal Divisions

Tokyo / The Mega-Building

Love Hotels (Journey 02) are near the Shibuya Junction (DS1 and DS2). The journey through two love hotels
Shibuya view from North West, showing Seibu (DS1) and Tokyu (DS2)'s relationship with the Shibuya Square.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Department Store / Seibu

Two major rail companies own two department stores in Shibuya. One is located on the north (Seibu Department Store / SDS) and the other is at south (Tokyu Department Store / TDS) of the famous Shibuya Junction.

I produced a booklet about Seibu Department Store in 2005 and after three years in 2008 I had a chance to extend this research with Tokyu Department Store which has an even more complex organisation than Seibu.
Literally public floors wrapping the shopping space which is almost independent from the organization of the inside at levels like 3,5 and 8. The buildings are connected together with bridges at these three public levels.
SDS naturally expanded through the time starting in 1960 still being built and it's almost like a naturally growing organism. Seibu A, Seibu B (1960's), Loft (1970's), Movida (2000's and still being built) are the buildings that connect in the sky and work together although they're designed by different architects in different times in the history.

Looking at the facade of the building, it's easy to notice although the skin is very predictable and boring, the internal organisation adapted itself to new needs and some of the windows are covered, some of them are open, some are lit, some spaces are used for storage... This kind of mutations allow the user to become the architect of their own which is healthier than the architect trying to predict the next 30-50 years of the use of the building.

Here is the text i have written two years ago in 2006 one year after my first visit;

17th April 2006, London

The department store in Shibuya, Seibu is probably one of the most interesting buildings I have ever seen in my life. This department store literally had been growing since 1970s. Connections are not only stuck to the ground level, tunnels and bridges are built underground, in the air because of the need, without one and only architect's decission.

Seibu is impressive because it's a collective work's result. The complexity is very inspiring for the future of architecture profession. In the age of easiness and boredom, this one building should be analyzed carefully. How can such a boring looking building can stay alive for 40 years at the heart of Tokyo? Is it only because the owners are rich enough to keep it open or is there also the contribution of this perfectly saturated complexity?

Every layer of the building has different spatial qualities and vertically Seibu works in a very interesting/different way in comparison to any European department stores.

First of all, this building is full of surprises. From a distance, all you can see is a repeating window pattern, gray, cold concrete facade. Some people from the street are sitting behind those windows, looking they really lack interest for shopping. Some are sleeping, some are reading newspapers at the fifth level. The whole department store is made out of two elements: the outer cold skin with seats, stairs and paths and inside warm core, the stores. When you spend a few days in a raw in and around this building, you start to realize that, this outer cold facade with paths, stairs and bridges are almost being used as streets.

Ok, we have heard the streets on the vertical two hundred and seventy three times from many architects since 1950's. But actually this is one of the very few examples of vertically used streets and personally I am not surprised at all that this thing is happening in a shopping mall. Here, the question can be would it work this way if this wasn't a shopping mall?

Circulation is provided in two different ways in this two sections. The cold section has staircases and bridges, the warm part has escalators and lifts. What is very inspiring here is, you get a chance to eliminate some of the floors without paralizing the circulations from down to top which gives the user to have a chance to use the mall as a 24 hours open public building even if it is not used right now like that, for any future complex organisations this could be used. The escalators inside the stores are not imposing the user shopping. When you are taken from downstairs, you find the next escalator next to you as you arrive the floor. These honest escalators saves a man's life when he wants to go to the restaurant at the eight floor, he gets the chance to cancel a unnecesary one minute walk through bras section. The distance between the floors for the escalators are minimalised by raising the floor level by steps just before reaching the escalator.

Seibu A, Seibu B buildings and Loft, Movida buildings form the overall department store. Movida is still being vertically extended. Seibu A is a female, Seibu B is male building. Loft is where you can find stylish stationary, furnitures and some clothes. Seibu Company founded Loft to compete with Tokyu Hands. Movida is the newest building added to Seibu, not surprisingly instead of user's sex and needs defining the floors, Movida is divided in Gucci, Prada, Armani floors. The sequence of Seibu Department Store recorded the history, it has a timeline of our shopping habits, how they have evolved. History doesn't mean only classical elements in architecture, organisational history; the evolution gives an image of the last fifty years of shopping.

Women still are the masters of shopping, but men are also joining today more equally to shopping world. To get this result, I have analyzed the number of toilets and who they belong to in the building. The female building, Seibu A has 7 female and 3 male toilets. It's not surprising to see men toilets on the restaurant floors only. The male building has an equal share although the content is dedicated to male users. 5 male and 5 female toilets. Loft, the cool bit is still 4 female and 3 male toilets, probably considering how much time women can spend in the toilet looking at the mirror they get one extra toilet. A section of Loft is dedicated to carpark, when the subject is travelling with car, noone would ask why one of the Loft floors have 2 male toilets. the only place male users are welcomed looks like the carpark and restaurants. Things start to be more equal in the newest section, Movida, the designer stuff. 3 male and 4 female toilets are put in Movida.

The female building is next to the Shibuya square, where the public transport connection is closest, probably because female users are more likely to use public transport, the male buildings and carpark is pushed inwards.

Roof also has store, I would point out - the only - not working bit of Seibu as the roof, the ninth floor. There is only a pet shop there and some seats. They have even placed some speakers to play music to the roof, it is the only place you can get most of the daylight, there are some trees, a big chimni, a big Seibu sign and services for the building on the roof. Where there is no shopping activity, public quality is lost.

Shopping is probably not about buying stuff, shopping is more about seeing, touching and trying new season bags, shirts and shoes. Shopping is the definition of public activity when your status is defined by the size of your plasma screen and horsepower of your car's engine. We must not forget that people no longer shop for a need, they need to shop and The Shopping Factory with a big chimni works best when you are swallowed and lost inside sliding down the escalators feeling happy like a kid in the playground...

Friday, 5 December 2008

Tuesday, 2 December 2008