The undulating structure designed by Heatherwick for a new neighborhood in Tokyo

Azabudai Hills is a new neighborhood that includes an ambitious mixed-use program and 24,000 square meters of public green space.

The new neighborhood designed by Heatherwick Studio in the heart of Tokyo officially been inagurated by the Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida. Azabudai Hills is the culmination of a 30-year initiative to revitalize the metropolis.

The district includes residential buildings, retail and restaurant space, a school, two temples, art galleries, offices and 24,000 square meters of public green space.

Tokyo's architectural landscape blends a wide variety of sizes and styles coexisting in the city, with contrast between old and new buildings, explains a research conducted during the preparatory stages.

The ambitious project thus aims to capture the ambiguous nature of the city: a central plaza and extensive public gardens are part of a newly designed landscape, seeking a delicate balance between the urban environment and the natural world.

Heatherwick Studio, Azabudai Hills, Tokyo, Japan, 2023. Photo Raquel Diniz

The 81,000 square metre architectural development is inspired by wooden pergola structures, with a grid roof structure that extends like a hilltop to create curvilinear forms that descend to the ground.  Heatherwick Studio added trees, flowers, and winding paths between buildings and on sloping roofs, with the goal of creating spaces that invite exploration and encourage social gatherings.

Led by Japanese developer Mori Building Co. Ltd, the regeneration initiative involved the collaboration of more than 300 residents and businesses. More than 90 percent of the original tenants and businesses chose to return to the renovated neighborhood.

This new neighborhood is expected to attract twenty-five to thirty million visitors a year.

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