Tokyo High-Density Development

The Gourmet by Hulic & Sushibashi: Master Plan for Tokyo Bay

Studio: Global Studio in Architecture & Development, Spring 2013, with Galia Solomonoff and Vishaan Chakrabarti
Team: Caroline Lebar, M.Arch; Mehmet Ozdemir, MSAAD; Hyukjin Park, MSRED
Site: Tokyo, Japan

Can we create a self-propelling cycle of brownfield redevelopment in Tokyo Bay by leveraging existing high-value sites in Ginza and by investing in a public transit link? We tested the limits of density in Tokyo with respect to infrastructure, quality of life, and other factors, while investigating how the food distribution network ties in with development both on the waterfront and downtown.

Master plan diagram

The project operates on two fronts: one at the scale of a building, with a design for a food-themed specialty hotel in a mixed-use building in Ginza, and the other at the scale of the neighborhood, with a master plan for the unused landfill islands in Tokyo Bay. These sites are linked by the Sushibashi, a new LRT line connecting the waterfront with Tokyo’s downtown, and providing transit between the wholesale markets, new neighborhood developments, and the restaurants and offices at the Ginza project site. The returns from the mixed-use project, together with funding from relocating the Tsukiji wholesale market to the outer islands, provide the investment needed to start a cycle of brownfield remediation in the Tokyo Bay islands, thereby jumpstarting a process that will bring needed housing to sites close to downtown.

The centerpiece of our proposal is a mixed-use, food-themed project in Ginza, which draws together all the pieces of the masterplan into a destination for Japanese and international food culture. “The Gourmet by Hulic” will be a complex of LRT terminal, markets and restaurants, food-related retail, small offices, a TV cooking show production facility, a cooking school, and a four-star hotel catering to food tourism. The idea is to create an architectural “bento box” by bringing a variety of food-related programs into one structural matrix. Restaurants benefit from in-house customers while office and hotel programs benefit from proximity to quality restaurants and shops. The hotel, split into several pavilions, has unique access to the food-related programs, providing guests with visual access into the kitchens of top restaurants. The restaurants are treated as special pavilions of their own, cantilevered over the central outdoor atrium, intended to draw in visitors and bring them up through the retail levels.

Rendering of The Gourmet by Hulic Floor plans for The Gourmet by Hulic Building program concept diagram Building section concept diagram Physical model of The Gourmet by Hulic