Atago Green Hills Mori Tower
2-5-1 Atago, Minato-ku, Tokyo Japan
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A beautiful skyscraper standing tall above central Tokyo, its gleaming skin reflecting the sun filtered through the metropolitan haze. In the tradition of modern Japanese architecture, the building is designed to appear as if the exterior skin is partially peeled away, revealing the building's inner core; much like a lotus flower as it starts to spread its petals in the spring. In this case, the petals are 42-stories of blue-green reflective glass and white spandrels arranged in a brilliant grid. The areas revealed behind the primary facade have thinner spandrels, which heightens the sense of perspective and help create the illusion of a rounded inner core covered by an outer husk.

The building gets its name from Mount Atago, upon which it sits. At the top of the mountain is Seishoji Temple, and this skyscraper and its sister, the Forest Tower, flank the holy site. The developer takes great pains to let people know that great pains were taken to protect the holy site and be sensitive to the heritage of the area. But Mount Atago was known as a great lookout point, and the erection of two skyscrapers has moved that overlook from the ancient greenery of the mountain to a 42nd story observation deck. Still, this is a pretty good compromise considering Tokyo's housing problems. It strikes something of a balance between the need for urban density and the three temples it calls neighbors.

Quick Facts
    > The building uses oil dampers in its upper reaches to reduce the swaying caused by earthquakes and high winds.
    > The building was erected in a joint venture between Mori Building Company; the Japanese national broadcaster, NHK; Kobunsha printing company; and three temples.
    > The building was built by Takenaka Corporation.
    > 2003 - This building is given the Award for Excellence from the Urban Land Institute.
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