New French Embassy

Tokyo 2009

This project called for the rebuilding of the French Embassy, planned in 2008, the year marking 150 years of Japan-French relations. Embracing the huge forest on the 25,400-square-meter site taken over from the Owari Tokugawa family as a maximum asset, the plans called for preserving the trees, harmony with the landscape, and consideration on the environment. With the theme of "an office in the forest," as well as positioning the buildings in areas surrounding the forest, the shape of the buildings was planned so there would be minimal cutting of the trees.

The project consists of two buildings, one symbolic building facing the road, and the office building positioned at the back of the site. In order for comfortable work while looking out over the huge green forest on the northern side of the office building, the northern Façade of the building is composed of a full-height curving glass curtain wall, realizing a workspace becoming one with the view of the forest. Standing on the forest-side common-space wood deck, one gets the peaceful feeling of being hugged by the forest.

With the Façade on the sides facing the nearby buildings, aiming for a feeling of becoming one with the forest and the natural perspective, the openings have been kept small to maintain the privacy of the neighboring apartment buildings. They are composed of pre-cast concrete (PCa) boards containing water-polished large-grain greenish black granite and small-grain limestone.

Three-dimensional greening has been carried out on the retaining wall, called the "green wall," leading along a 50-meter slope to the entrance hall, realizing an approach space with the feeling of unity with the historical nature. The chain of top lights covering the ceiling of the four-level atrium leading to the entrance hall creates a space with abounding nature and light, expressing the high grade dignity and dynamism of the embassy.

Various energy-conserving technologies, such as an automatic natural ventilation system, the use of argon gas inclusion Low-e double glass, and an automatic light control system using illuminance sensors, have been introduced throughout the architecture and landscape planning, responding to and realizing the demands of the present age for sustainable architecture with a low load on the environment (CASBEE "S" rank) (BEE value = 4.1). This design and construction of this project was accomplished after the entry to and subsequent winning of a business competition by a consortium of five companies including Takenaka (the MINTAK Consortium).

Client Toyota Corolla Shin-Osaka Co., Ltd.
Location 3-11-1 Higashimikuni, Yodogawa-ku, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture
Design & Construction Takenaka Corporation
Structure Steel
Number of floors 7 fl. above and 1 fl. below ground
Total floor area 11,246m²