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Almost concurrently with the opening of the New York Epicenter, Prada embarked on its second in Tokyo with the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. The six-story stand-alone building, situated in the Aoyama district, is one of the most distinctive works of architecture in Tokyo.
The green glass façade bulges from a diagonal grid that forms its structural skin. Inside the building houses retail floors, lounges, and event spaces.
Prada Aoyama Tokyo is the first building by Herzog & de Meuron in which the structure, space, and façade form a single unit. The vertical cores, the horizontal tubes, the floor slabs, and the façade grilles define the space but at the same time provide the structure and the façade.
This means that every single visible part of the building (except for the glass) operates as structure, space, and façade all at the same time. The façade is conceived as a porous spatial structure: one could almost say the building does not even have a façade. Its glazing is only an external shell, comparable to a contact lens resting on the pupil of an eye.
Like contact lenses the façade’s glazing of the building is merely here to enhance and focus optical processes.