TOKYO TORCH Redevelopment District: Where the ‘City’s Courtyard’ Meets its Tallest Towers

Commercial, Landscape, Online Exclusive Feature / 2021

TOKYO TORCH Redevelopment District: Where the ‘City’s Courtyard’ Meets its Tallest Towers

October 6, 2021

Tokiwabashi, a district in central Tokyo, is the beating heart of the city’s historic and present-day lifeblood. For three centuries, this district served as the gateway to Edo Castle where the Japanese government in the early modern period was seated.

Since Tokyo Station was opened in 1914, the district became the access point for Japan’s national railway network. This has propelled the area’s growth since the 1960s, where large office buildings and mixed urban infrastructure were developed.

Today, Tokiwabashi is being invigorated beyond just economic functionality to further imbue joy, pride and happiness into the city. The redevelopment district called TOKYO TORCH will create 2 hectares of open public space in the centre of the city, including the eight-storey podium of Torch Tower, which is enclosed by a spiralling open-air walkway. Standing at 63 floors above ground, the tower will be the tallest in Tokyo—providing an observation deck called Sky Hill at its very top.

Torch Tower, alongside Tokiwabashi Tower, will be interconnected by Tokyo Torch Park, a plaza that is adjacent to the city’s vital green-blue infrastructures, namely Tokiwabashi Park and Nihombashi River. Here, FuturArc talks to Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei about the Green aspects of TOKYO TORCH’s public spaces.

Q: In terms of scale, how does the new plaza relate to other similar plazas in Tokyo? And how does the new and old fit in together in terms of the new landscaped waterfront along the historical river?

A: The 7,000 square-metre plaza is part of a distinctive environment that includes Tokyo Station; Tokiwabashi Park; Nihombashi River; urban infrastructure such as an underground substation; and two towers. It is open to the street in order to highlight the activities taking place within. At the same time, it is surrounded in all three dimensions by lush greenery, making it the ‘city’s courtyard’ where people can relax and engage in various activities. Anyone can use the plaza—our intention in opening this space to a wide range of people is for the activities occurring there to become part of the urban landscape.

We preserve the existing trees of Tokiwabashi Park and the rest of the project district while also creating a new landscaped waterfront. As such, we designed a place where old and new nature meld together into one lush blue-green environment. The view from boats on Nihombashi River was an important consideration when designing the project.

Q: How does the redevelopment district take into account the local physical landscape?

A: The simple, restrained design takes into account views from the plaza in front of Tokyo Station as well as from further away. Despite being surrounded by many flat-roofed towers, the design is also appropriate to the existing architecture of Tokyo Station. The top of the super high-rise building is open to the public, embodying a new concept and value system. The exterior ground-level spaces also offer diverse places where people can spend their time.

Q: Are there any passive design strategies used? And do the blue-green programmes provide ecosystem services to the larger district?

A: The project includes a variety of passive design components, such as double skin to reduce heat load in the buildings. We incorporate renewable energy including solar power, hydropower and wind energy that takes advantage of the building height. It also contributes to community-wide energy savings and CO2 emissions reduction by utilising waste heat from waste water discharged by the building, as well as a district heating and cooling system.

Q: What impact does the project bring to the local community?

A: TOKYO TORCH’s redevelopment aims to make the district adjacent to Tokyo Station a place that brings light and vitality to all of Japan, forges connections with people around the world, and welcomes a diversity of visitors. In this way, we hope the project will invigorate the local community and form the basis of a new, interactive neighbourhood.


Project Name   

Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Under Construction

Expected Completion    

Site Area           
31,400 square metres

Gross Floor Area            
740,000 square metres

Building Height 
390 metres (Torch Tower)

Mitsubishi Estate; Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Sewerage; Daiwa Securities Group; Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings; TEPCO Power Grid; Otemachi Development; Urban Renaissance Agency; others

Architecture Firm             
Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei

Principal Architect          
Koji Matsuda (Head of the TOKYO TORCH Project Design Office at Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei)

Main Contractors           
Toda Corporation; Sumitomo Mitsui Construction; TBD (Torch Tower)

Mechanical & Electrical Engineer            
Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei

Civil & Structural Engineer
Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei

Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei

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