Landscape Architecture: EARTHSCAPE
Project Name: Iidabashi Plano
Location: 2-7-2 Fujimi Chiyoda-ku Tokyo, Japan
Client: Nomura Real Estate Development Participants in planning: Architect / Yamashita Sekkei Inc., Construction / Taisei Corporation Type: Residential plaza
Photographer credit: Tadamasa Iguchi
Time Tree In the lobby of the main entrance to the residences, there is a plaque and a symbolic camphor tree named the “Time Tree.” On the plaque, various histories telling the story of Fujimi Ni-Chome and Tokyo (Edo) have been carved as words and images. Lines extend from the centrally-planted camphor like roots, and reach out like a tree diagram moving from old information to new information. The information mostly traces the history of the samurai houses in the area from the Edo period to the present, and is largely divided into three categories: “History of Fujimi Ni-Chome,” “History of Edo/Tokyo,” and “Natural History.” By having the information differentiate as it moves from the center, and extend into a tree diagram, our goal is to make the stories all connect with one another, developing as they entangle. The “Time Tree” offers an overview of the history of the region from the Edo period to the present, and, as a symbol of Proud Tower residences in Fujimi, Chiyoda, it provides the opportunity to discover various connections across time. And at the root of the locationʼs history, the central camphor tree grows into the future. Root 1: History of Fujimi Describes the history of the samurai residences, changes in place names in the area, and how the area came to be called Fujimi Ni-Chome. Root 2: History of Edo/Tokyo Describes the history from the city of Edo (with a focus on the area around Chiyoda-ku) to contemporary Tokyo. You can follow the time periods while weaving through patterns of old maps and ukiyo-e. Root 3: Natural Foundation Describes transitions in the nature of relationships between humans and nature from the Edo Period and the present day. Information on Edo-era gardening, the Kaede-gomon (ʻMaple Gateʼ) and Sakura-gomon (ʻCherry Blossom Gateʼ), and the present day cherry trees.
We designed this piece with an image of the entire square as a randomly layered book. The sides of the rock, which act as the back cover of the book, are engraved with the scientific names of plants, and we inscribed information and explanations regarding various trees onto the tablet surfaces. By sitting on the stone book, or lying down on the diagonal slabs, these benches allow you spend as much time as you like resting and learning about trees.
The lines inlaid at different parts of the site point in various directions, and denote places one ri (an old distance unit approximately 4 km) away from this location. They are contemporary versions of ichirizuka, a historical type of landmark. Ichirizuka (literally “one ri mound”) were mounds erected every 1 ri along roads throughout the country during the Edo Period by decree of the Tokugawa Shogunate, and were meant to mark distance. Typically, vegetation such as a nettle tree would be planted.
Just as people back then would use the ichirizuka to measure distance along the road and determine their location, you can locate this site within Tokyo using this contemporary ichirizuka.
This long line that divides the site into two indicates the direction of Mount Fuji, and notes the distance to Mount Fuji (25 ri). On the line, we see ukiyo-e depictions of Mount Fuji from famous locations between Tokyo and the mountain, as well as their distance to the mountain. As the name of this area is Fujimi (literally ʻFuji Viewingʼ), we created this line as an tribute to Mount Fuji, which was once visible from the local hillside.