Designing the terrace like a living room, the rooftop like a garden, and exploiting every space in, out, above and below, the latest project from Studio Velocity seems to have taken the lessons from our 2020 lockdown experience to heart. Recently completing a new office in a residential area of Okazaki, in the Prefecture of Aichi on Honshū Island, the team of Japanese architects has elevated a simple space consecrated to working under the open sky. At the heart of the building, we find a sweeping terrace composed of a single curved surface, providing for a variety of internal and external uses.
Like an enormous plate, the roof of the structure covers the floors below, leveling the heights of ceilings and recreating a sort of round, livable fourth dimension — an enveloping room facing the open sky. “It was designed as an enclosed yet open space capable of adapting to the densely populated residential areas nearby, as well as an intimate and private area,” say the architects. As the result of an original engineering exercise, the terrace is designed to support a maximum of 150 people. “To prevent the interior space from being overly dominated by multiple structural principles,” explain the creatives, “the tension material is Hinoki wood rather than metallic wire”.
A perfect example of balancing the subtle and robust, this complex constructed by Studio Velocity guides the livable dimension from the ground up, incorporating various hubs for meetings, executive desks, shared workstations, an elegant kitchen and a shared dining area, which just like a glass box, opens up to the outdoors. Exploiting the effects of gravity, the studio capped the structure in wood with an open layout using an incredibly thin, habitable roof. And while the work areas fall between a sea of ultra-thin columns, lush plants and shrubs climb up to the top of the building.
Like a green oasis, Sanno Office is a place we all dream of working. A parenthesis facing upwards, the terrace looking to the rooftops of Aichi represents a natural escape between endless emails — one that continues to live and breath beyond meetings, memos and computer screens.