Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Swatch Building

The Nicolas G. Hayek Center is the new headquarters for the Swatch Group located in the Ginza shopping district of Tokyo, Japan.  Architect Shigeru Ban was challenged to design a building that incorporated retail space for seven different high end watch brands on the confined, dense urban site and the interesting solution is the portion of the building in which I chose to focus my study.  The ground floor of the fourteen story building displays each of the seven brands individually in a glass encased kiosk.  The kiosk serves double purpose as both a mini window display and transforms into a personal elevator to take shoppers to the main showroom on another level of the building.  My investigation of these means of vertical movers progressed into an axonometric drawing of the retail floors in the building to help visualize and distinguish the animated quality at work.  The first four floors above ground are dedicated to retail and have the ability to be open air via large sliding glass doors on both front and rear facades.  This allows the building to blur a boundary between interior and exterior.  Another element of interior and exterior blur is a large garden is built onto one wall, extending vertical four floors in the main atrium space. 

The axonometric drawing below illustrates the seven individual different elevators moving through multiple floors.  The distribution of people and vehicles through the building occurs at varying scales.  Everything, either people or cars, enter on the ground floor.  The first subfloor is retail, and the second subfloor is a parking garage.  The three floors above are also retail and atrium/garden space.  The elevators are in constant flux, animating and adjusting to the users as they interact with it.  The building  has also adapted to the urban fabric environment of the city.

My investigations into this building have helped me to clarify some of my interests about the programmatic elements I want to pursue with my degree project, such as a concentration of vertical circulation, and dense urban fabric environments.

* photographs taken from *


  1. Hello Nathan :-)
    I´m Ana, an student of 2nd course of arquitecture of Madrid, Spain.
    First of all, thank you for reading this :-)

    I have to make an drawing analysis of this building of shiger Ban in two weeks. I have red you article of this biulding and it has helped me quite a lot to understand its intention and interest.
    In the library of my University this biulding is not published, or I haven´t been able to find it (little probable, because i´m very exhaustive at searching for information). The only plans I have are of 5 levels and too little, I can´t even read what it´s on that plans!
    I´ve seen that you have been able to draw an axonometrix of the vertical system, and I was wondering if you wouldn´t mind to send me at least the plans you have. I guess they are big enough to even draw an axonometric.
    I´m quite desperate, because it´s a new building and the course is getting more and more hard and demanding, and I don´t know how to explain this biulding.
    I promise to send my analysis to you when I finish it, in appreciation of your help :-)
    To contact me, please, you can add me to messenger at:
    or search for me at facebook as: Ana Fernandez del Prado.
    Thanks for reading :-) I hope you can help me, please
    Thank you very much, Ana

  2. 人必須心懷希望,才會活的快樂,日子才過得充實,有意義,有朝氣,有信心。........................................

  3. 在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」.................................................................

  4. 人生的價值以及他的快樂,都在於他有能力看重自己的生存................................................