Tokyo Truss-Work

Roberto Pasini (Designer)

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact

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competition: international, 2011
bid: American Institute of Architects
land area: 450,000 sqm / floor area 500,000 sqm / 16,000 new residents, 4,000 units, commercial, public facilities
design: AUS Pasini Ranieri / with: Alice Ranieri (photographer), Matteo Lucca (sculptor)

A single act of construction responds to the need for a new settlement of 16,000 residents and related facilities in a central location of the Tokyo Bay. A rarefied truss-work hovers 15 m above the waters casting the shadow of its uniform artificial cloud onto the waves over a 0.2 by 1.1 km surface. A rectangular matrix of 15,300 cubic modules with 7.2 m sides form an atmospheric prism, 153 unit long – 25 unit wide – 4 unit high, lifting the programmed functions up in the air above the canal. This move makes room on the untouched land to the south of the site for a 20 ha urban forest, which will bless the vicinities with refreshed oceanic breeze. Olympic and Paralympic Village as well as residential Legacy Mode are but accidental phenomena, impermanent ways in which the atmospheric truss-work can be inhabited across time. Each of the four levels, corresponding to a 7.2 m module, can house one special-function common/public facilities floor or two conventional 3.6 m high residential floors. With a total of 4,000 residential units, summing up to a surface of about 400,000 sqm, the complex is provided with common/public facilities covering a surface of about 100,000 sqm. The multiple residential types include 2,000 one-bedroom apartments, 4,000 two-bedroom apartments, and 2,000 three-bedroom apartments, in a 25%-50%-25% proportion. Every unit offers a ‘neo-bathroom’, intended as a secluded space for physical rest and personal meditation. Equipped with an advanced SPA (‘Salus Per Aquam’ i.e. ‘wellbeing through water’) with chromotherapy lighting system, automated washlet, lavatory, and shower-tower/bathtub combination, it is completely clad with travertine slabs and mirror panes on walls, ceiling, and floor. Although embedded with sophisticated technology, a ‘neo-bathroom’ is about a primal experience: a human body immersed in water flowing on porous stone and reflecting light. Facilities and common spaces are lined up along the horizontal spines at the first level, forming an agreeable waterfront promenade. Clusters of residential units can be plugged into the structural frame along vertical distribution axes. The deck of the prism houses a panoramic garden with amenities and a green power station, combining large photovoltaic and micro-aeolian systems, fully providing for the energy requirements of the complex. A central information room monitors and controls the functioning of the highly-automated mechanicals and systems operating the entire domotic structure. A pneumatic waste system collects separate refusal from residential clusters and special activities, destining dry components for recycling and organic parts for anaerobic composting. The anaerobic composting treatment converts organic waste into natural fertilizer feeding the urban forest, with additional production of green energy from captured bio-gas. The artificial cloud can be inhabited most freely by the largest number of beings, envisioning a basic manifestation of universal design, letting even winds flow and rains fall through. The artifact is enormous, sleek, and impalpable, nevertheless it will be named ‘the little house’.*

*(According to Aldo Rossi a ‘little house’ is not a reduced version of a worthier residential building, but it has to do with the intimacy of a possible village condition)
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAmerican Institute of Architects
EditionAIA/YAF/COD Ideas Competition Catalogue
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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