Atelier MEME aimed to integrate the existing structure with the extension harmoniously

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Atelier MEME

Designed by Atelier MEME, the expansion project for a Japanese School, Akamonkai, in the center of Tokyo, an office building near JR Mikawashima Station.

“Our client, Akamon-kai, is one of the leading educational institutions in Japan, known for its high student enrollment numbers at its Japanese language schools, and is looking to enhance its image. Therefore, we proposed not just an expansion, but an integration of the new construction with the existing building in a way that improves the overall image of the school.” stated architects.

Atelier MEME

Limitations during the architectural design of this project limited the plan to a basic arrangement of vertical circulation and classrooms, which offered only a few opportunities for internal changes. As a result, the team shifted their focus to enhancing the facade of the building.

The objective was to ensure that the existing structure was integrated harmoniously with the extension. The team drew inspiration from the awnings adorning storefronts in Mikawashima and envisioned a creative repurposing of these elements. Initially, the idea was to envelop the building in awnings, similar to Christo’s art installations, but the cost and fire safety concerns led to a revision of the plan.

Finally, partitioned awnings were incorporated into the exterior design. Each awning was positioned at a subtly varied angle to create an aesthetically pleasing look.

Project Info

Project name: Akamon-Kai Japanese Language School
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Leader designer & Team: Atelier MEME/ Atsuyuki Yagi, Hiroyuki Kurashima, Jiaxin Li
Construction: Eishin Construction
Structure: Steel frame
Design year: January to August 2019
Construction Period: September 2019 to April 2020
Completion Year: May 2020
Gross built area: 478.2 sqm
Photography: Takuya Shimosato

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