Florian Busch Architects is an office practicing architecture and urbanism. Based in Tokyo, FBA draws on a worldwide network of experts accumulating several decades of experience in the field of building. Concepts for the R4 building always came back to the question how scale and location would inform an inner-city office type, and, interestingly, how exactly this contextual necessity might in fact perfectly reflect an environment of unforced, informal, perhaps even natural “work efficiency”.
A total of just four floors makes repetition not a top priority in terms of building economics. But beyond a repetition of self-similar cut-outs, we wrapped the entire building in an envelope with a field of openings generated by iterations of structural and lighting analyses. As the clear-cut definition of floors seems to disappear, the building attains a new dimension: a gradually changing diversity within an overall unity. Every point in the building is uniquely different.
The envelope is the structure. What has been considered a recipe for functional restriction predating the modernist ideal of flexibility turns out to work in favour with the given scale: The envelope has become all, no interior walls are necessary, nor are columns. Each of the four units is one free space defined by the envelope wrapping around it. The decision then is to forgo the usual structure + curtain wall and make the exterior envelope perform on many levels: free the interior, filter the outside, carry the loads.