Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP

Fukoku Mutual Life Building Competition

Osaka, Japan


This competition submission for a design for the Fukoku Mutual Life building in Osaka, Japan, envisioned a tower 121 meters in height with twenty-five floors above grade and four floors below grade. The lower floors contained parking and technical spaces and connected to the existing commercial, retail, and transportation network. Situated on a site defined by the high density of the surrounding urban context and its proximity to Osaka Station, the scheme designed a beacon for the skyline by virtue of its simple geometry and materials.

The architectural intent was to create simultaneously a solid, translucent, and transparent “white” building with minimal maintenance requirements. The plan organization and the main façades defining the southwest corner were designed to be clear and ordered. The technical requirements of solar and heat gain control were integrated into the façade’s white “frit” treatment  to create a subtle, almost magical effect.

The building was organized vertically around a central, multistory atrium, which features gallery space as well as undulating benches, glass light wells in the floor, and an illuminated ceiling. The second and third floors were designated for two retail banks, and the fourth and fifth floors are devoted to cultural venues.

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