Japanese studio Ryuichi Sasaki Architecture has completed a mixed-use development in Tokyo comprising a community performance space and apartments housed in angular concrete volumes.
The Ideareve-Ikegami Building was designed by Ryuichi Sasaki Architecture to provide a cultural center and accommodation in a mostly residential area of the city’s southern Ota district.
The area is named after the Ikegami Honmonji Buddhist Temple, which is located close to the new development and includes a famous 17th-century five-storied pagoda.
The geometric reinforced concrete building aims to blend in with the neighborhood’s smaller cafes, shops, houses and temples, as well as the historically significant site of Ikegami Honmonji Temple.
“The challenge for us was to design an experiential complex in [the temple’s]that would embrace the spiritual and cultural essence of the community, while adhering to the kinds of strictly enforced building codes that typically protect these heritage areas,” explained architect Ryuichi Sasaki.
With 13 one-bedroom residential units and a penthouse, the building functions as a creative facility for local residents to study music in its various multipurpose spaces.
A two-story music hall and an 80-seat auditorium occupy the prominent southwest corner of the building, which juts out to adjacent streets.
A void in the center of the building leads to a foyer shared by the music hall on one side and the apartments on the other. An adjacent exterior staircase provides access to the rental units on the two upper floors.
The landscaping, including gabion walls filled with stones, delimits the limits of the whole and separates the garden spaces planted with various species.
Connections across the site and to the surrounding area are maintained by large windows and multiple entrances. The planting contributes to the general feeling of simplicity and serenity of the project.
“The views of the residential area, as well as the circulation areas of the music hall, were designed to inspire emotions conducive to musical creativity and melodic rhythms,” Sasaki added.
“The project contributes to the blend of culture and hospitality that characterizes the town, and we are proud to provide this resort for the joyful use of the people of Ikegami.”
The building’s cast concrete facades feature sections that curve slightly outward, creating shadows that enliven the otherwise seamless surfaces.
Inside the hearth, brass-coloured stainless steel panels mirror the external protrusions, sloping inwards and incorporating lighting along their vertical edges.
The angular music hall has protruding acoustic reflectors with integrated lighting. One corner of the space contains a storage closet with a mezzanine viewing area above.
The stairway leading to the apartments is designed to evoke the stairway climb to the Ikegami Honmonji temple. It connects to a hallway at the back of the building which provides access to the soundproof houses.
Each apartment has a small kitchen, bathroom and studio-style bedroom and living space, most opening onto a private balcony.
A penthouse unit occupying part of the upper two floors on the west side of the building comprises three separate volumes that can be reconfigured using sliding walls.
The penthouse living and dining room can be extended, while the master bedroom on the top floor can also be divided to create several smaller rooms.
Ryuichi Sasaki Architecture seeks to reinterpret the position of architecture within contemporary society and works on various typologies, including residential and cultural buildings.
The firm, which is shortlisted for the 2022 Dezeen Awards Architectural Studio of the Year, has already achieved minimal gallery space for traditional porcelain dolls and the conversion of a warehouse club into offices with walls that seem to float.
Photography is by Takumi Ota Photography.