Building of Music

Tokyo, Japan
Mesh membrane like speaker
Photo © Shigeo Ogawa
A night view that seems to emit sounds into the city
Photo © Shigeo Ogawa
Metaphors of Keyboard , strings , percussion and wind instruments
Photo © Shigeo Ogawa
BF main hall for recitals
Photo © Kensuke Aisaka
1F Entrance hall
Photo © Shigeo Ogawa
Lobby on the classroom floor
Photo © Shigeo Ogawa
M-room ( for drums)
Photo © Shigeo Ogawa
LL-room (for ballet)
Photo © Shigeo Ogawa
5F Recording equipment shop
Photo © Shigeo Ogawa
7F cafe corner
© Kensuke Aisaka
7F office
© Shigeo Ogawa
8F terrace
© Kensuke Aisaka
Aisaka Architects Atelier
Tokyo, Japan

This commercial complex for a music company with a long history includes music classrooms, instrument sales and storage spaces, and the company’s main offices. Located in the Kanda-Ochanomizu area of Tokyo, which is known for its many music stores, the lot is small and irregularly shaped. The client requested a building that efficiently combined a variety of functions, including rooms for lessons in piano, violin, and other instruments; a hall for recitals; a professional recording equipment shop; storage for wholesale instrument sales; and offices to manage these various aspects of the businesses.

The requirements related to soundproofing, views, daylighting, shade, and usage time varied for each floor, and the likelihood that these requirements would change in the future was high. We therefore decided to use a double skin that maintains a unified exterior appearance regardless of how rooms are being used or whether windows are open. We selected a mesh membrane that sways at high altitudes, can easily be rounded in all directions to allow for optimal sky-view ratios, and is porous to light and air.

Made of polyester fibers coated with PVC resin, the fireproof exterior mesh membrane blocks visibility from the outside while allowing those inside to see out. A solar reflectance rate of 33 percent lowers the air conditioning load by 28 percent. The membrane can be bent three-dimensionally, and because it is light and perforated, there is little structural stress from either the weight of the material itself or wind pressure. Because there is no danger related to the material falling to the ground, it is easy to replace and maintain and can be reused. The covid-19 pandemic has increased the appeal of facades such as this that enhance natural ventilation while maintaining privacy.

The form of the building takes into account the irregular lot shape, codes related to height and setback, and necessary elements such as emergency stairs, balconies, plumbing, and wiring as well as the need to express the company’s identity. We incorporated shapes inspired by various musical instruments, adjusted to maximize capacity. The mesh-covered façade evokes a speaker sending music into the neighborhood, transforming the building into a giant sign advertising the company inside.

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