Gate City

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Tokyo, Japan

Gate City in Osaki, on the outskirts of Tokyo, is a mixed-use development that includes residential, office and retail space. Thomas Balsley Associates designed the complex’s main entry plaza, as well as a public garden and cafe that serves shoppers, workers, and visitors, and the residential neighborhood.

The Entry Plaza creates an animated, playful landscape in scale with the buildings, the pedestrian activity of the adjacent neighborhood and the nearby railway. A stand of poplar trees, bisected with a diagonal path and geometric water channels, forms a dramatic counterpoint to a sculpture of tapered orange columns tilted in various directions, a provocative dialogue between the natural and man-made. At night, the grove of trees and stone monoliths are up-lit. The water channels and pool are illuminated with refracted light, providing a memorable foreground silhouette to the illuminated frosted glass entry building of Gate City.

The North Garden links the various Gate City buildings to each other, as well as to the adjacent residential neighborhood, situated across a canal. Its terraces, punctuated with lines of water, lawn panels, and light, provide relief from the surrounding architecture. Each area offers different outdoor experiences and levels of intimacy. Three organically shaped sculpture follies provide sheltered vantage points. Each folly is inspired by a plant species, expressing the garden in architectural form and degrees of spatial enclosure. Closer to the atrium, large paved areas accommodate event seating and the cafe tables served by a kiosk.

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