Ireland House, Tokyo, Japan
Shortlisted, International Competition, 2019
The historic architecture of Ireland is inseparable from its landscape and underlying geology, giving a sense of weight and permanence. By contrast, the built heritage of Japan has a remarkable lightness that stems from a wider cultural appreciation of the beauty of ephemeral and delicate objects and phenomena. Our proposal is inspired by these contrasting architectural cultures and is composed of a sculptural mass enveloped with a delicate timber screen.
The internal organisation has been designed to create a convivial atmosphere that promotes collaboration and hospitality. The publicly accessible lower floors occupy the sculpted mass. These spaces feel secure and are dramatically lit through carefully placed openings, while the upper floors take the form of open platforms that are lightly enclosed by timber louvres.
The interior spaces are planned in relation to outdoor spaces that are inspired by the abstracted landscapes and cultural traditions of Japan. They are a gesture of hospitality and provide places of respite from work and the intensity of metropolis of Tokyo.