Contemporary Architecture

TOYO ITO – TOD’s Omotesando

  • Honorary Fellowship of AIA
  • Honorary Fellowship of RIBA
  • Commissioner of Kumamoto Artpolis
1941 Born in Seoul Metropolitan City
1965 Graduated from The University of Tokyo, Department of Architecture
Worked at Kiyonori Kikutake Architects and Associates
1971 Started his own studio, Urban Robot (URBOT) in Tokyo
1979 Changed its name to Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects
1986 Architecture Institute of Japan awards for “Silver Hut”
1992 33rd Mainich Art Award for Yatsushiro Municipal Museum
1999 Japan Art Academy Prize for “Dome in Odate”
2003 Architectural Institute of Japan Prize for “Sendai Mediatheque”
2004 XX ADI Compasso d’Oro Award for “Ripples” (furniture design)
2006 Royal Gold Medal from The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
2008 6th Austrian Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts 



  • 1991 – Yatsushiro Municipal Museum
  • 1994 – Old People’s Home in Yatsushiro
  • 2001 – Sendai Mediatheque (Actar, Barcelona)
  • 2002 – Commissioned to design a temporary pavilion adjacent to the Serpentine Gallery, in Hyde Park, London
  • 2002 – Bruges pavilion
  • 2004 -Matsumoto Performing Art Center, Matsumoto
  • 2004 –TOD’s Omotesando Building, Tokyo
  • 2006 -Taichung Opera International Competition in Taiwan
  • 2006 -VivoCity Singapore at HarbourFront
  • 2008 -World Games Stadium in Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  • 2008 -Villa for Chilean architectural project Ochoalcubo.
  • 2009 -Suites Avenue Building, Barcelona, Spain
  • 2009 -Water Fountain in Pescara
  • 2009 -Torre Fira BCN Building, Barcelona, Spain


  • Toyo Ito is inspired from philosophers such as Munesuke Mita and Gilles Deleuze.
  • Ito has defined architecture as “clothing” for urban dwellers i.e. equilibrium between the private life and the metropolitan, “public” life of an individual.
  • His work are very difficult to categorize.
  • He believes in lightness and transparency.
  • And follows organic design.
  • Explores the potentials of new forms and shapes.

TOD’s Omotesando,Tokyo, Japan

  • LOCATION : Omotesando, the tree-lined boulevard of Tokyo.
  • CLIENT : Tod’s, the Italian leather-goods company.
  • DESIGN CHALLENGE :Only 33 feet of street front space but has to create an identiy.

About the building:

  • Building is the Japanese Headquarters for the TOD’S – the Italian leather goods company.
  • Only the bottom two levels are open to the public.
  • The upper levels are for offices and meeting rooms.
  • “Trees are organisms that stand by themselves, so their shape has an inherent, structural rationality” –Toyo Ito
  • Design – Silhouettes of nine trees were overlapped to create the six walls of the L-shaped building
  • The trees were designed of concrete, 12 inches thick and bear all the structures load.
  • The interior is seven stories of column free space.
  • As the building grows higher, the branches begin to split and thin out until they reach the top.
  • “We did not use any special algorithm to determine their size, but we tried to keep the elements from getting too small.” – TOYO ITO
  • The space in between all the branches turns into 270 unique openings.
  • The openings grow smaller closer to the roof.
  • Openings are filled with both glass and aluminum panels
  • “Instead of openings cut into a solid concrete volume, transparency and opacity are on an equal footing.” – Architectural Record
  • The entrance is the largest opening, – A triple height.
  • Load is carried by excellent path that the concrete tree creates.
  • Also the floor slabs are 20 inches deep and carry all the interior loads to the exterior walls.
  • Whole of the interior is a column free space.
  • Stairs are placed in the extreme ends of the retail space.
  • An advantage this is that, displays can be rearranged and put virtually anyway.
  • On the roof is a glass encased meeting room as well as a mixture of grass patches and travertine paving.

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