This large danchi is a site in transition, home to buildings from the original danchi, UR都市機構赤羽台団地 UR City Mechanism Akabanedai danchi, and its replacement, UR都市機構ヌーヴェル赤羽台 UR City Mechanism Nouvelle Akabanedai.

As described in the excellent blog, Cat Foreheads & Rabbit Hutches, “It was the first major danchi complex within the 23 wards of Tokyo, located on a hill that steeply overlooks Akabane Station in Kita-ku, not far from the Saitama border, and it was considered cutting edge by danchi standards when it opened in 1962”.

Frankly, please read that entire post! Once you’re back from that post, let me show you a few things:

I. MAPS

Unlike many (or most) danchi, UR Akabanedai danchi was built on a brownfield site. As seen in a map from around 1945, the site is labelled “Army central clothing depot”, and the buildings are visible in aerial photos from that time:

We see in photos from 1961/64 that the danchi had been completed; and in photos from 2004 we can already see that some of the original buildings have been removed and/or replaced:

Here are two maps of the danchi that depict this hybrid of old and new buildings:

And here’s a more recent map, which, you can sort-of see, is dual-titled ヌーヴェル赤羽台 / 赤羽台団地 (Nouvel Akabanedai / Akabanedai housing complex):

Finally, a much older map showing the original danchi (source):

II. Old Buildings

Approximately 20 buildings remain from the original danchi. Here are some of them; a few of these have already been demolished. Fortunately, the “star houses” スターハウス still remain:

III. New building: Nouvelle Akabanedai ヌーヴェル赤羽台

The new buildings are taller than the original and have green roofs:

Nouvelle Akabanedai includes twist to a typical apartment complex: a handful of 1-story buildings lining the promenade between buildings 5 and 6. These buildings were added to provide a human scale in the midst of the much larger apartment buildings. As described on this website:

“We inserted a discreet one-story housing community supported by rows of loggias on both sides of the street. Furthermore, to ensure the connection to the nearby B-1 block (and its 1st floor deck), we came up with the solution comprising columns and a big staircase. People using this street, is not just people coming here with a specific purpose, its also a path for traversing, and we also wanted to construct something that made the public spaces “white” in terms of the activities within them.”

 

And in Japanese:

“イチョウ通りの両側にロッジアを持つ離散的な平屋のコミュニティ棟群を配置した。また、B-1街区へのつながりを確保する2層のピロティ+大階段(背後の2階デッキレベルでB-1街区へとつながる)でそうしたテーマに応答した。ここに登場する人々が、目的的な移動だけではない<散策>的かついきいきとした移動の流れ(=◇-traversing)を開始し、団地内の公共空間が<白>化されるとなるような<アクティベータ>として建築が現れる。”

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