Home   Architects   Styles  













Name   Spiral
Architects   MAKI, FUMIHIKO
Date   1985
Address   Tokyo, JAPAN
Floor Plan    

The Spiral, which is the first of these, was designed for the Wacoal Group on a 30-by-60-meter site in the Aoyama district in 1985, and typifies Maki’s engage - ment with urban issues. Its form is both a response to the complex, irrational morphological chaos of Tokyo, and a novel brief that included a mix of uses, such as a restaurant, shops, offices, and a gallery type exhibition space. To reflect each of these, Maki decided to create a more orderly internalized city of his own, and adopted a decidedly fragmented, Construc - tivist approach for the exterior using a collage of bold forms. These fractured surfaces, which include a huge, square tilted shoji-like screen, and a giant cone, are intended to mirror the character of the context, and evoke urban memories as well as hinting at his hidden purpose of fabricating a more orderly alternative within.

Constructivism, which originated in post-revolu - tionary Russia and only lasted from the mid-1920s until Stalin turned toward a more traditional national style in the early 1930s, sought to invent typologies that were more appropriate to those needed in a Communist state, and Maki felt sympathetic to this variant of Modernism because he was also confronting new functional adjacencies in this case.

He concentrated on the time-honored Modernist device of procession to combine them, which is implied by ascending steps on the elevation, and used a stately internal street to lead people past several street-front shops and a lower ground-floor restaurant toward a large sky-lit exhibition space at the back of the building. This is encircled by the spiraling 15-meter diameter ramp to the upper level that gives the building its name, and in addition to its anticipated use as an art gallery this soaring space quickly became a favorite venue for fashion shows and receptions because of the filming and people-watching possibilities provided by the ascending surface.


Steele J. Contemporary Japanese architecture: tracing the next generation. Routledge., 2017. P. 155.

Photos and Plan    






New Projects






Support us