Japan 2012 - Omotesando Hills
A short walk down from Harajuku Station will bring you to Omotesando Avenue - besides Ginza one of the foremost shopping streets in Tokyo. Like Ginza, this street is lined with flagship stores from global fashion brands.
I went there specifically to seek out the Tadao Ando designed Omotesando Hills. It is not far from the junction of Omotesando Avenue and Meiji Dori. Word was that the developer wanted to maximize the development potential of the site by building up, but Ando wanted to keep the scale of the building at a height not more then the trees that lined the avenue - and Ando is known to be very persistent when it comes to getting what he wants. You can see for yourself in the pictures who got their way.
The shopping levels start at the ground floor and goes 2 levels up and 3 levels down. When you are inside you don't really know what is above and what is below ground, so Ando achieved the required density without having to build too high above ground.
At the centre of the atrium is a series of steps which lead all the way to the bottom floor. The stairs also serve as event spaces and seating during functions. Somehow Ando managed to make a shopping centre look really cool.