I am always drawn to this wave-shaped apartment building in Nakano.
At a major intersection in Shin Nakano, across from Sugiyama park, you can see how several Showa-era two story buildings with shops below and housing above refused to give way to the mid-rise apartment building boom of the past decades. I love the colorful wall ceramics and roof tiles and the local history they evoke.
Recently a director and landscape designer from 5bai Midori took me on a tour of three projects in Meguro, two residences across from each other and an apartment building. The two houses in Kami Meguro are across from eachother, with one residence garden inspiring its neighbor. Above you can see how the plants have thrived after seven years, with vines reaching the third floor roof garden, and an interesting mix of small plants, shrubs and trees framing the entrance. With the plants reaching maturity, you hardly see the boxes that are the foundation of the garden system. Because the plants are all local natives, maintenance is just twice per year.
The “Moegi” apartment building in Kakinokizaka below was designed by an architect who wanted to maximize greenery with 5bai Midori. Plants are placed along the sidewalk, in the main entrance, private courtyard, and side bicycle storage area. Above the street level, there is a ledge running the entire width of the building that is completely covered in 5bai Midori boxes.
The first of the Kami Meguro houses has a wild exterior that contrasts with the typical cinder block wall of the neighboring property.
Its side entrance consists of gently sloping pebble steps also based on 5bai Midori’s box system. The feeling is organic, private and charming.
You can see my previous posts about 5bai Midori and its founder Tase Michio. Below the jump are some additional photos of these three projects.
In an earlier post, I talked a little about 5bai Midori‘s street beautification products and the creative force behind this small green business Tase Michio. This post uses photos from their website to explore their idea of restoring the countryside, or satoyama(里山), and bringing it into the city.
The photos above illustrate the concept of carving a piece of rural nature into a modular square. 5bai Midori plants these bio-diversity trays on modular metal cubes with up to five sides for plants and special light-weight soil. Applications include residential entrances, sidewalks and balconies, apartment and office buildings, green walls, rooftops, neighborhood planters, boulevard and highway guard rails, interiors, benches, and special events. They have targeted individuals, governments (including amazing, yet unrealized plans for greening Kabukicho and Marunouchi), developers and construction companies.
These are some images of how plant trays are cultivated to include a multitude of species in a small area.
These purple flowers are blooming outside our Tokyo apartment building. While the large trees and some bushes are regularly pruned by professionals, much of the front and side of the building are tended by women who live in the building. Other flowers include brugsmania, clivia, cymbidium orchids, poppies, clivia, azalea and geraniums. It’s an odd mix of cultivated and feral plants that are hardy enough to survive without irrigation.