Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
 

Inaugural Japan Symposium Rises to the Occasion in Tokyo
May 22, 2015
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TOKYO – The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) held its inaugural Japan Symposium, coinciding with the release of a special Japan edition of the CTBUH Journal and the release of the Tall Buildings in Numbers report: “Japan: A History of Tall Innovations.”
Held at the Academy Hills lecture hall on the 49th floor of the Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo, the Symposium brought together leading international and Japanese experts in tall buildings, to discuss forward steps for innovation in the industry, and to stimulate greater interaction between the Japanese and global tall-building communities.

The first session of the day featured presentations from David Malott, CTBUH Chairman and Principal, KFP; Hiroo Mori, Executive Vice President, Mori Building Co.; Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Partner, Bjarke Ingels Group and Peter Rees, Professor of Places and City Planning, The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, University College, London.
Attendees listening to the panel discussion.
Malott opened the session by acknowledging the event host, Mori Building Co., for its early commitment to the idea of tall buildings as “good citizens” that contribute positively to the overall urban environment. In particular, he nodded at the vision of the late Taikichiro Mori, who “actually realized the ‘city within a city’ concept, freeing up room on the ground plane to accommodate social space that did not exist before, bringing quality of life back into the densest part of the city.”

Through projects such as Ark Hills, Roppongi Hills and Toranomon Hills, Mori has scattered large developments throughout the southern half of space-starved Tokyo, which are notable for cleverly incorporating natural and man-made topographical changes into intriguing environments that, at the feet of iconic tall buildings, combine retail, cultural, office, and public recreational facilities.
1960 Plan for Tokyo by Kenzo Tange David Malott, CTBUH Chairman and Principal, KFP, delivering the first session of the day.
“The vertical garden city is part of our basic approach,” Mori said. “We expect urbanization to develop further, and we need to use vertical space in a limited area. Against this backdrop, we also need to place ‘soft’ technologies in cities, to be competitive in the city environment we can offer to the rest of the world.”

Malott then presented the Next Tokyo 2045 project, which KPF undertook with structural engineers Leslie Robertson and Associates and wind engineers RWDI, as part of a television series on future technologies by Japanese broadcaster NHK.
Next Tokyo 2045 project
The Next Tokyo 2045 project envisions a 1,700-meter-high, slotted tower with interlocking hexagonal floor plates, as the anchor of a development spanning Tokyo Bay that would act simultaneously as urban habitat, agricultural ground, and coastal defense mechanism. Next Tokyo 2045 was inspired by variety of precedents, Malott explained. The 1960 Plan for Tokyo by Kenzo Tange is the most obvious precedent, as it also envisioned a harbor-spanning biomorphic city. But the concept was also informed by Tokyo’s own history as a convergence of sea and land transport networks, plus real-life projects such as Singapore’s Marina Bay, which turned a saltwater lagoon into a freshwater reservoir and development site/city park, and the existing under-construction high-speed rail line linking Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou through the basements of at least four tall buildings in those cities. The slotted tower model was chosen over less-porous options, due to its superior wind performance and the opportunity to create usable interstitial spaces along its height.

Though the design was subjected to rigorous wind-testing and structural optimization, “The greatest and most important challenge is social and humanistic,” Malott said. “How could we make the buildings as habitable as possible?”

This project is described in detail in CTBUH Journal Issue II.
Kai-Uwe Bergmann of BIG presenting on BIG's current projects
Kai-Uwe Bergmann of BIG presented his firm’s range of projects optimized for the diversity of climates they occupy. This group of projects is currently being showcased at the National Building Museum in Washington DC and in the book Hot to Cold.

Following the sequence of the book and exhibition, Bergmann moved from Kuala Lumpur, through Miami, to Shenzhen, New York, Vancouver and Copenhagen.

The Malaysian project inverts the typical tapered skyscraper, to be wider at the top, maximizing real estate value and providing a degree of self-shade. At the top is an open-air courtyard and pool that is nevertheless protected from high winds by a screen-like enclosure.

Moving up past the Equator to the sunny shores of Miami’s Coconut Grove, Bergmann showcased the Grove, a set of two towers that twist to offer premium ocean views to the maximum number of apartment units, even those set far back from the water on a triangular site. The buildings feature deep shading and the tallest commercial glass sliding doors commercially available—14 feet [4.27 meters] high, so that residents can “move the entire façade from side to side,” opening up to the outdoors as desired.

Bergmann demonstrated BIG’s “engineering without engineers” concept, citing the examples of a gas-company headquarters in Shenzhen that reduces its energy costs by 30% using appropriately angled vertical panels, another twisted tower that also maximizes topside real estate in Vancouver, and an extraordinary incineration plant that will become Denmark’s tallest structure, as well as an all-weather ski slope.

“Our work wants to marry the two opposites: the efficiencies of Modernism to the specific adaptation of vernacular buildings,” Bergmann said.
Peter Rees, former chief planner of the City of London, speaks on skyscrapers’ need to respect their urban environments. Q & A Session from session one with (left to right) Peter Rees, former chief planner of the City of London; Kai-Uwe Bergmann, BIG; and David Malott, CTBUH Chairman and Principal, KFP.
Specific adaptations to context and view corridors are what drove the unusual shapes of such central London skyscrapers as The Shard, the Cheesegrater and the Walkie Talkie. As the former chief planner of the City of London, Peter Rees saw to it that skyscrapers respected their urban context and preserved the vital essence of one of the world’s great cities and its narrow streets full of pubs and business gossip.

Now that Rees is an academic with no restrictions on free speech, he has left his already threadbare kid gloves on the shelf. Few CTBUH speakers can deliver the tough love as Rees does and get away with it, though wit and wisdom as usual softened the blows.

After describing a pleasant jaunt through Tokyo’s calamitous jumble of side streets on his way to the event, Rees evenly declared, “Now I am in a tall building again, and my soul has died.”

Offering plenty of criticism of the “object” tall building that stands alone or in a carefully arranged group of peers in an over-planned tabula rasa, Rees insisted that tall buildings should be grafted into pre-existing places where urban vitality already exists, if they are to be built at all. Despite the fact that some of the architects and developers of Shanghai’s Pudong skyscraper cluster were in the room, Rees said, “The future of the world does not look like Dubai or Pudong. The future is the little area I walked through in Tokyo today. If you want to see where new ideas are born, don’t look in a tall building, look in a garage behind a building in a back street.”

During a question and answer session, the speakers agreed that political leadership of cities had to rise to the occasion to counter the inherent inclination of developers to develop whatever is profitable, and architects to execute their fantasies, by demanding that the streetscape and human-scale experience of skyscraper environs be sustained and nourished, and that social equity remain a paramount objective.
Second session hosted by Daniel Safarik, Director, CTBUH China Office (far left), with panelists (second left to right) Mitsuhiro Kanada, Associate Director, Arup; Toru Abe, CEO and Managing Director, Sekisui House Australia; Tomohiko Yamanashi, Principal, Nikken Sekkei; and Satoshi Toyoda, Partner, Rafael Vinoly Architects.
In the second session, four representatives of Japanese architectural, engineering and development ingenuity joined a panel hosted by CTBUH China Office Director Daniel Safarik.

These included Toru Abe, CEO and Managing Director, Sekisui House Australia, Satoshi Toyoda, Partner, Rafael Vinoly Architects, Tomohiko Yamanashi, Principal, Nikken Sekkei, and Mitsuhiro Kanada, Associate Director, Arup.

Each presented briefly on a selection of tall building projects, centered around the theme of “Greening the Vertical Habitat.” Abe discussed his firm’s substantial transformation of a derelict former brewery district in Sydney into the Central Park development, the centerpiece of which is the One Central Park twin residential tower complex, which won the CTBUH Best Tall Building Worldwide award in 2014. Toyoda surveyed Vinoly’s work, including the 432 Park Avenue residential tower in New York and the Walkie Talkie at 20 Fenchurch Street, London. Yamanashi revisited some of the concepts discussed in his paper for the CTBUH Journal, “Innovative Façade Systems of Japan,” including the CTBUH Innovation Award 2014 winner, BioSkin, a system of water-filled pipes that radiate cool air, mitigating the urban heat island effect around tall buildings. Kanada discussed Arup’s work on such buildings as the Maison Hermes, Tokyo, and The Shard, London, both by architect Renzo Piano.
Satoshi Toyoda, Partner, Rafael Vinoly Architects, presenting on his firm's current projects and design approach.
Presentation by Tomohiko Yamanashi, Principal, Nikken Sekkei on the development of high-rise facade technologies in Japan.
The panel discussion touched on a wide range of subjects, including the breadth of the definition of “green” or “sustainable” for tall buildings when the use of glass façades remains highly prevalent.

Yamanashi further expounded upon his statement in the Journal paper that BioSkin was not ready to be patented and mass-produced as a product, even though it was shown that the aggregate effect of multiple buildings using evapotranspiration as a cooling strategy would be a noticeable decrease in ambient urban temperature. Conscious of the need to maintain the architectural integrity of a design, Yamanashi said the future of such innovations spreading beyond single, tailored installations was in mass customization, enabled by advances in Building Information Management (BIM) software that have yet to be fully realized but likely will be soon.

Toyoda defended the case of the Walkie Talkie, which became notorious for concentrating reflected sunlight into dangerous beams that damaged property in the surrounding area. He said that a thorough review of solar interaction was conducted for the building, whose design began before the recession of 2008, but the louver and fin system Vinoly’s firm had designed to account for this was “value engineered” out of the design when a lower, post-recessionary budget was fixed in order to complete the project.

The session concluded with Chairman Malott encouraging the audience to become more involved in local, regional, and global CTBUH initiatives. Malott noted that, despite the excellence in industrial and engineering innovation for which Japan has been known, of late its export of expertise has flagged, such that the ubiquity of “Made in Japan” as a label of quality has been replaced by “Only in Japan” as a sign of isolation. The tall building industry has been affected by this malaise; thus one of the purposes of the Japan Symposium was to inject new energy into the community and encourage more dialogue between disciplines and between nations.
Prospects for future dialogue appeared bright at the VIP reception held afterwards, kindly sponsored by Thyssen Krupp, which took place in the 51st-floor Academy Hills Club.
Prospects for future dialogue appeared bright at the VIP reception held afterwards, kindly sponsored by Thyssen Krupp, took place on the 51st-floor Academy Hills Club. The technology firm showcased its recently developed MULTI linear-induction elevator, which can move horizontally as well as vertically, without a need for ropes. As if to convey its blessing of the future, after the day’s discussion about achieving new heights, the blinds rolled up to reveal a rare view of the source of all vertical aspiration in Japan—Mt. Fuji, backlit by the sunset, looming over the twinkling lights of Tokyo.
Attendees:
Name: Company:
Miho Konishi ALG
Takeshi Konishi ALG
Kazuo Hamaji Autodesk
Shibata Haruki Fujitec
Okamoto Kenji Fujitec
Kenichi Sugiyama Fujitec
Yukiko Yokoi Fujitec
Aya Matsuyama Global Sky Facilities, Ltd.
Hiroshi Hasegawa Hiroshi Hasegawa architect
Takeshi Hori Hitachi Building Systems Co., Ltd
Tetsuo Motoyama Hitachi Building Systems Co., Ltd
Nobuyuki Nakayama Hitachi Building Systems Co., Ltd.
Dionysius Siringoringo Institute of Advanced Sciences Yokohama National University
Hideya Kato Institute of International Harmonization of Building and Housing
Hiroyuki Uga Irie Miyake Architects and Engineers
Yuriko Takayanagi Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Soichiro Suzuki Kajima Corporation
Masahito Tanaami Kajima Design
Erika Takeda Keio university
Xianqun Guo Kozo Keikaku Engineering Inc.
Takuro Sakamoto Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Norihiro Takano Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Masashi Yamashita Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Shingo Yasumatsu Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Junichi Ishida Mitsubishi Estate
Ninomiya Ruriko Mitsubishi Estate
Hosono Tokushige Mitsubishi Estate
Atsushi Kubo Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Akihiko Nakai NHK
Yasuyoshi Hitomi Nihon Sekkei Inc.
Koji Kato Nihon Sekkei Inc.
Gaku Umezu Nihon Sekkei Inc.
Shihgeru Sakiyama Nihon Sekkei Inc.
Shigeyoshi Higashitanaka NTT Urban Development
Yutaka Horiguchi NTT Urban Development
Manabu Inoue NTT Urban Development
Kazuki Ishibashi NTT Urban Development
Shinichiro Kobari NTT Urban Development
Masayuki Otsuka NTT Urban Development
Yasuhiko Asaoka Obayashi Corporation
Masaru Emura Obayashi Corporation
Rajendra Chandorkar Oberoi Realty Ltd.
Jaswinder Sandhu Oberoi Realty Ltd.
Yoichi Saji Saji & Asscociates
Nobuyuki Yoshida Shinkenchikusha Co., Ltd
TOMIHIRO HORI SIGMA structural design office
Alan Burden Structured Environment
Takeshi Inoue Tak Atelier of Architectural Design
Osawa Akihiko Takasaki City University of Economics
Akihito Yoshida Tokyo Polytechnic University
Motomu Uno Tokyo University of Science
Tomohide Fujii Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation
Hiroaki Suwabe Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation
Tomonori Kagami Yasui Architects & Engineers, INC.
Hisae Konuma Yasui Architects & Engineers, INC.
Yasuhiko Kumagai Yasui Architects & Engineers, INC.
Shinichiro Yorita Yorita & Associates
太植 長谷川紘都市建築研究室