Shibuya Subwaystation

The Shubuya subway station was designed by famous architect Tadao Ando. The Shibuya Subwaystation is a transfer station that connects two different subway networks. The egg-shaped concept runs through all floors and is open at the top. The egg shape cuts through the levels and is made of glass fiber reinforced concrete parts that partially overlap each other. Ando's station looks like an underground spaceship. The innovative thing about its concept, is the lack of air conditioning. The incoming trains push the air upwards out of the station and cool air flows in from the tunnel. The futuristic Shibuya station was opened in 2008.

Buildings by Tadao Ando:

Naoshima   Vitra Campus Basel


Shibuya Subwaystation


Mikimoto Ginza 2

Kokichi Mikimoto was the first to succeed in producing perfect cultured pearls. In 1899 he opened his first shop in Ginza. Toyo Ito's "Ginza 2" shop was built at the same location in 2005. The column-free building is supported by the façade, which consists of steel boxes poured out with concrete. The white painted steel facade has irregularly distributed, rounded openings. 


Maronie/Namiki, Ginza-ku


Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower

The 204-meter high rise building in Nishi-Shinjuku is not only special by its appearance, inside there are only schools and other educational institutions. The design of a cocoon facade suggests its use as a fashion school. The egg-shaped auditorium for 1,000 students is just next to the tower. The draft of the Cocoon Tower was designed by Paul Noritaka Tange, the son of the famous architect Kenzo Tange who died 2005. The Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower was completed in 2008. 


Cocoon Tower, Shinjuku


Ice Cubes

Japanese architect Jun Mitsui realized this narrow building in 2008 for an investor from Hong Kong. The concept of the "Ice Cubes", white, light-acting glass cubes, which are interlocked, convinced the Swedish H + M to rent the building. The glass elements of the facade have been coated with a special ceramic, which makes the glass shimmer white. This makes the building light and slender. 


H+M, Haraju-ku


Christian Dior

Dior's fashion store was built in 2004 by SANAA Architects. The straight cube is rather simple during the day, only at night you can see the different heights of the storeys and layers of the facade. The glass structure is on Omotesando Avenue. The Dior store is located between Omote-Sando and Meiji-jingumae subway stations.

Other SANAA buildings:

New Museum New York  Design School Essen   Naoshima harbour


Omotesando Ave. Shibuya-ku


Tod's Omotesando

The Italian luxury shoe store "Tod's" was built in 2004 by Toyo Ito. Ito has thrown a network of overlapping exposed concrete structures over the building, the open surfaces are completely glazed. As with many of Toyo Ito's buildings, his architecture is impressive at night, when the interior is brightly lit. 


Omotesando, Shibuya-ku


Prada Epicenter Aoyama

The Prada store designed by Herzog & de Meuron was opened in 2003. The hard, crystalline form is mitigated by the Glass Bubbles of the facade. The construction is thrown on the building like a network of diamonds, this creates an open space inside the shop.


Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku


Miu Miu

The Miu Miu fashion boutique is diagonally across from the Prada Epicenter in Aoyama. Both buildings were designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and both belong to Prada. But unlike the glass epicenter, the Miu Miu is relatively closed. Except for the ground floor, the whole structure is clad in metal. The outer skin is made of shiny silver metal, while the inside is clad with profiled copper. The metal facade stands out of the building and you can see the sky. The Miu Miu opened in 2015.

Buildings by Herzog & de Meuron:

Allianz Arena   Fünf Höfe   Elbphilharmonie   Leonard St New York   Olympic Stadium Beijing   Museu Blau   De Young Museum   Messehalle 1 Basel   Tate Modern London


3 Chome-17-8 Minamiaoyama, Minato City, Tokyo


La Collezione

La Collezione by Tadao Ando is a commercial building with apartments, which was built in 1989. The building was composed of a circle, a square and two rectangles. The building envelope consists of exposed concrete and glass. The individual cubes overlap and together with corridors and stairs, form a varied network of three-dimensional concrete and glass surfaces. Since a large part of the building is underground, light wells illuminate these rooms, which are used as fitness club. La Collezione shows the exposed concrete typical of Ando, with the precisely planned formwork holes.

How to get there?

Omote-Sando metro station, then approx. 500 m in the direction of the Nezu Museum.


6-chōme-1-3 Minamiaoyama


Tokyo International Forum

Japan launched an international architecture competition in which 395 architecture firms took part. The New York architect Rafael Viñoly from Uruguay got the first place. The aim of the award was to create an international forum for art and culture with a floor space of 144,000 square meters. Rafael Viñoly designed rectangular structures and an oval glass hall that connects the other buildings. The huge glass hall is 210 m long and 57.5 m high, its shape follows the rail tracks on the east side. The Tokyo International Forum also serves as a conference center. The 4 square buildings, which get bigger and bigger from south to north, are accessed from the glass forum. Along the street they have a uniform facade, but the individual structures towards the glass hall are clearly visible. There is also a pedestrian passage on this side that opens up the area. The roof of the great hall is held up by white fish-belly girders made of steel. Bridges span the hall in several places. The Tokyo International Forum was completed in 1996.

Other buildings by Rafael Viñoly:

20 Fenchurch St. London   432 Park Avenue NYC


3-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku


Asahi Super Dry Hall

The striking building complex of the Asahi brewery was designed in 1989 by the French designer Philippe Starck. The tall building serves as administration of the brewery and is supposed to be a reminiscent of a beer glass with a foam crown. The black building with the Flamme d'Or is said to represent the burning heart of Asahi. The 360-ton "golden flame" was manufactured by a shipbuilding company. The Flamme d'Or returns as a door handle in the interior. The four-storey black base is covered with granite slabs and has a curved shape that widens towards the top. You enter the Asahi Super Dry Hall via steps made of glass blocks that are illuminated at night. The Asahi Super Dry Hall is open to the public, and in the restaurant "Flamme d'Or" you can soak up Philippe Starck's surreal design from up close. The Asahi Brewery is located directly on the Sumida River, on the other bank is the famous Asakusa-Kannon Temple


Asahi, Sumida-ku


Tower of Winds

The "Tower of the Winds" by Toyo Ito was built in 1986. The Tower with a hight of 21 m is made of perforated grey metallplate, which is quite unimpressive during daytime. At night the "Tower of Winds" starts to turn into a shining work of art, that reacts to wind and noise from the environment. The famous predecessor was the "Tower of the Winds" in Athens. 




NOA Building

The NOA Building of 1974 combines two opposing materials into a sculptural building. An oval tower of dark bronze rises from a red brick base. Seiichi Shirai has studied history and philosophy in Berlin, he has adapted himself to architecture. Its buildings contradicts the general architectural theory.


3 Azabudai, 2-chome, Minato-ku


Capsule Tower

Kisho Kurokawa created the 54 m high Nakagin Capsule Tower in 1972. The 144 capsule apartments were inserted into two port structures with elevators and stairs. The principle of the Plug-in City. The residents should be able to take their capsules with them to any other location and dock onto a port structure there. The Kurokawa capsule tower is the most famous building of the metabolists. Metabolism was a Japanese architectural movement that designed organic structures that can constantly adapt to new influences. The capsule tower was like a tree with a trunk and the capsules could be replaced like leaves. However, no capsule was ever replaced. The 4 x 2.5 m residential capsules were later developed in capsule hotels in Japan. The building is dilapidated and will likely be torn down despite its importance for architectural history. In Europe, Kurokawa built the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Kisho Kurokawa died in 2007.


16-10, Ginza 8-chome, Chuo-ku


National Museum of Western Art

The National Museum of Western Art in Ueno Park was opened in 1959. The architect was Le Corbusier, who designed the museum together with Japanese interns. The modern building made of exposed concrete and delicate green washed concrete slabs hides its real beauty in the interior. You enter the building through the Pilotis (supports that allow an open space underneath the building) and reach the entrance area. The heart of the museum is The Nineteenth Century Hall, a hall that spans all floors. From here, ramps and stairs open up the surrounding exhibition areas. High concrete columns and a large, triangular skylight characterize the large hall in the middle of the museum. The exhibition areas are designed according to the Museum of Unlimited Growth principle and the walls can be changed at any time. Balconies open up to the central hall and allow views and a good orientation inside the building. Details and proportions were designed according to Le Corbusier's Modulor. The National Museum of Western Art by Le Corbusier is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Other buildings by Le Corbusier:

Villa Savoye  Weissenhof Museum  UN headquarters  Unité d'habitation  Corbusier House Berlin  Center Le Corbusier


7-7 Ueno-koen, Taito-ku


Map Architecture in Tokyo