CO2 WORKS architect’s office in Nagoya, Japan

This time I am sharing with all of you my impressions of CO2Works architectural office in Nagoya, Japan. Designed by Koji Nakawatase, 4 stories high, finished in 2012.

Nagoya is the kind of city I could get lost in an instant as most of the buildings around look alike (see the backdrop of this building), but this one I find to be a contemporary hidden gem. Surely the form of the building was the first thing that attracted my attention. That is a great and smart move for an architectural office to have a building that celebrates the profession. A wonderful architectural piece to show the style of the office, to show their capabilities and to inspire the team while they work in it everyday. And surely everyone in the neighbourhood knows: that’s the architect’s office. Also I can suspect that the building by itself filters the clients: the ones who come want contemporary and fresh houses and they know what kind of architecture to expect.

The purity of materials and the details in this building truly amaze and perplex me. There is no difference between inside and outside, all is concrete and the transition from the outside to the inside is incredibly smooth. The window details fit very nicely and I can only wonder what happens during earthquakes (minor ones happen 2-3 times a year). And what about the cold bridges as Japan is not that warm (is it even possible to dream of such building in let’s say Finland) and how do the other systems in the building function?

Additionally I like the little bits of landscaping elements: grass on cantilever terrace, little flowers and  decorative tree pots.

When I walked up to the building to photograph it, I had a chance to meet two people from CO2 office. We exchanged our details and latter, after coming back to Europe, I corresponded with the main architect Koji Nakawatase. I asked him for a permission to write about his creation and kindly, to my joy, he said yes. Also I asked if he could tell me some some additional stories (the wonderful rare opportunity), but I think our good intentions got lost in translation. So, I still feel curious what are the stories that this building has to tell, what was the path to get there, what were the quarrels about that the design team had (supposedly), what was the vision and what was the main challenge?…

This post leaves me curious and I take it as a sign of encounter with great design.

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  1. Not only does it look earthquake-proof, but also would be fun as a private residence! Thanks for visiting.

    • You are welcome.
      And in this building there is a kitchen an a bathroom already(all for the office?), I guess it could work as a private residence : )

  2. For some reason, it looks to me like a cross between an Escher painting and a Rubik’s Cube. I imagine it gets the workers thinking as they enter the office to begin each day of work. I like the little moments of gardening that are included; it makes the concrete look a little less sterile.

  3. Incredible site! Love the urban photo journalism mood to the architecture pictures. Thanks for the blog and for looking at my site. I wish had your talent!

    • Thank you, Billyeats :) Your words will help me to keep on going!

  4. Really interesting architecture, proving that concrete doesn’t have to be either flat and boring, or Soviet-style flat and dramatic. I actually live in a 1970s prefabricated concrete block of flats. It was well built and is still an efficient and nice place to live, but it is a featureless block, just like the neighbouring blocks – it does nothing for the soul. By the way – nice to get a ‘Like’ from a site that isn’t trying to sell me boots or software ;-)

    • Thank you, Malcolm. I started to like concrete only quite recently, dislike was influenced by the endless prefab-concrete apartment blocks too, but concrete is just a material and can take many forms. More complicated shapes are not so efficiently made, but they are more sculptural and enriches the built environment. And no, I do not sell nether boots nor software :)

  5. PS – as you are an architect, I thought you might be interested in my personal blog about Vaasa in Finland. There are hundreds of photos and many of Vaasa’a architecture, both old and new. Enjoy!

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting. I do like Finland and northern countries in general (and their design culture ), I did not have a chance to visit Vaasa jet though! Surely I will check out your blog!

  6. Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it was
    extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I
    submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing.
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