DETACHED APARTMENTS

A typology for the regeneration of Tokyo's old, fragile Neighborhoods


MY CONCLUDING MASTER THESIS AT TOKYO INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

APRIL - JULY 2015

TOKYO. Solely by chance, some parts of Tokyo managed to survive the earthquakes and war bombings of the 20th century. These areas have not only retained their historical urban fabric, but also their communal behavior. However, because of their vulnerability to impending disasters, many of these areas also face the threat of an aggressive redevelopment, endangering their special character. This project suggests an alternate way of regenerating Tokyo’s old neighborhoods proposing an updated residential typology that focuses on preserving the unique communal behavior. In order to find a suitable area for the project, maps of areas damaged by the Big Kanto Earthquake and the bombings of World War II were superimposed with the map of the priority development areas appointed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. A further analysis of these areas revealed a clear distinction between west and east of Tokyo, reminiscent of the historical distinction between Yamanote and Shitamachi respectively. The latter part appears less developed thus retaining more of the historical urban fabric. Coincidently, due to the low-lying, fragile soil, the east of Tokyo is also projected to suffer more from natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunami. One such area is the neighborhood of Kyojima, Sumida-ku. After the Big Kanto Earthquake, the farmlands and canals of Kyojima was hurriedly urbanized, the area consequently retaining the patterns of its original infrastructure. When Kyojima again was spared during World War II, the neighborhood saw yet another influx of new residents, making it one of Tokyo’s densest areas. It now ranks as the neighborhood most prone to disaster in the event of a big earthquake. This project is located in one of Kyojima’s dense and vulnerable environments where small roads provide the setting for communal behavior.

 

 

 

 

arrival

Arrival to one of the main paths of the site

 

library

Superimposed map of Tokyo. Orange marks damage from the 1923 Kanto Earthquake; Red marks damage from the bombings of World War II; Black marks Prority Development Areas

 

plan

Neighborhood of Kyojima / The historical roots of Kyojima are still very evident in its organic and dense urban fabrac.

 

sketch

Registration / sketch of existing houses. The houses of Kyojima have many elements such as eaves, balconies, potted plants etc, that enhances its small scale.

 

plan

 

Registration / sections of existing streets. The width of the streets and paths of Kyojima corresponds to a specfic behaviour.

night

From the surrounding streets, the 3-storey buildings appear to have just two stories.

 

isometry

Isometric drawing. To preserve the small scale the roofs of the buildings tilt downwards to meet the heights of the surrounding buildings.

 

diagrams

Application of streets / From left to right: 1. The widest type of street activites the surrounding roads and snakes past three preserved houses and connects all entrances; 2. The garden-like spaces are applied on the backside of the houses; 3. The gap-like spaces are connects the spaces.

 

plan

Plan, ground floor / The apartemnts are detached from each other to reintroduce the shared space between them.

 

interior

Interior / The apartments open up towards the small gap spaces and treats them as an extension of the interior space.

 

exterior

Exterior / Every house has a view of a semi-private garden.

 

section

Section / The three types of streets defines the size and usage of the spaces between the buildings.

 

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