Tower of Insects (2018)
Location: Ginza, Tokyo
Term: October 2017 - February 2018
Type: Graduation Design Thesis
Semi-Finalist (1st Place of Substitute Finalist) at Sendai Design League the Best Graduation Works in Japan 2018
Finalist (Top 8) at Fukuoka Design Review the Best Academic Works in Japan 2018
Decreasing Ecosystem of Insects
Nowadays, environmental destruction is crucial in the Japanese modern society. Increasing concrete material surface has led to the issue of Heat-island phenomenon, deforestation has led to decrease of natural environment, and rapid construction led to a crucial pollution of air. The most tragic victim of this devastation, was one of the smallest ecosystem on earth, Insects. This project aims to re-consider the role and function of architecture, by exploring the possibility of architecture to exist as an environmental device in an extreme urban context, contributing to recover the "vanished" ecosystem of insects.
Reconnecting the Ecosystem in Ginza
The project site, Ginza is known as one of the most developed cities in Japan. Since Ginza has been the center of commercial area for more than 400 years, globalization and modernization is severe, which as a result created an unusual dense city structure generating extremely narrow buildings known asPencil Buildings. In such context, the task of this project was to propose a new form, vision, and function of architecture,which maintains the natural ecosystem of various species, in the restricted typology of such "extreme consequence", PencilBuildings. In Ginza, lack of biodiversity has been a critical issue after the development of the city, jeopardizing the original habitat of insect species by separating the abundant nature apart. The Tower of Insects is given the role to reconnect the separated ecosystem, by functioning as an ecosystem hub. In order to successfully function the building as an ecosystem hub, the appropriate site was discovered based on the habitat record of major species in two natural gardens located nearby. By analyzing the active distance of these species, the possible interaction point was found in a vacant lot located in the central area of Ginza.
Observation to Design of the Tower
Ecological research of insects was conducted throughout Ginza city to discover the relationship between insect habitat and urban spaces. The research was conducted by sketching, capturing the scene where micro-interrelationship between insects and urban spaces were observed. Then, a full catalogue of these observations were made in order to analyze the peculiarity of the insect habitat, and to sublime them into building diagrams. Through the analysis, void spaces such as alley spaces, narrow In-between spaces of buildings, and small balcony spaces showed a significant role in maintaining the ecological habitat. The design focused on inserting such void spaces in the typology of narrow "pencil buildings".
Symbolism : Tower as an Ecological Indicator
Due to the intense destruction of environment, Ginza City is focusing on ecological retrieval through insertion of Green spaces, Rooftop gardens and water places, dispersed in the city. "The Tower of Insects" corresponds to the changing, increasing ecosystem reflecting the habitat of specific species recovered in the city, while symbolizing the ecological activity using the vertical characteristic of pencil building. Corresponding to the recovery of species living in the city, the building will be reformed adapting, and providing the habitat of such species through architectural form. This building can be seen as metabolizing architecture,environmental device, vertical forest ... or can it be the new form of nature,resulted by the extreme urbanization?