Pola Ginza Building by Nikken Sekkei + Yasuda Atelier and The Adaptive Building Initiative and Hoberman Associates

Nikken Sekkei + Yasuda Atelier

The Adaptive Building Initiative and Hoberman Associates were commissioned by POLA, a Japanese cosmetics manufacturer, to develop an adaptive shading system for its new showroom building in Tokyo’s Ginza district. This system has been developed in collaboration with design architect Yasuda Atelier and executive architect Nikken Sekkei.

The 14-story building, which opened in October 2009, has 185 shutter mechanisms that are housed within the double glazing of the façade. Each shutter has dimensions of approximately one by three meters, and is made of an acrylic sheet that has been formed into a curved surface.

  • Adaptive Shading Coverage: 3,000 sq. meters
  • Number of operable units: 185
  • Material: Acrylic




















Pola is one of the highest quality cosmetic companies in Japan.
Placing the great deal of importance on the quality of life, Pola employs the notion of the three beauties- esthetics, fine arts, and gourmet- as the theme for this project.
Following this concept, we took in the key words of “water`, “light`, and “time` for designing the building. “Water` and “light` is the essential element for the shiny fresh skin and “time` leads to the varying image of life.

Pola Ginza Building is a multifunctional building with quite small foot print.
As Ginza is the area of the highest land price in Tokyo, we tried to make most of the space by designing the structure and the other mechanical fixture comprehensively and efficiently.
In addition to the office of the Pola’s head quarter on the middle floors, the Pola’s flagship shop “Pola the Beauty` is on the ground floor that is transmitting the new branding image of Pola toward people walking on the main street of Ginza. On the basement floor is an esthetic salon, the third floor is a free gallery (the annex of the Pola Museum that is well known for its precious private collection of impressionism), and the strictly examined select shops and restaurants on th

e other floors, where people can enjoy esthetics, fine arts and gourmet.


The site is in the Ginza area where the accumulation of international super brands is engaging people’s hearts and minds. Pola Ginza Building is the leading project in the district where many new developments will take place in the near future.


To give the “varying` and “moving` image to the static structure of “building`, the kinetic polycarbonate panels are adopted between the double grazing along with the LED lighting fixture that can provide any color we want.
The kinetic panels, having variety of scaled patterns that remind us of an image of the cells of life, change their appearance like a breathing life by the mechanical and luminous movement.
They are operated in maximum 14 panels a group by the automatic hinges placed on their tops and the horizontal shaft with rollers that push the panels along their curved profile. Panels and the shaft are not connect directly each other but related indirectly so that the panels move in a deferent timing gradually and escape from the different movement caused by the possible severe earthquake.
The intentionally sparse RGB dots of the LED lighting fixture and the patters of the moving panels are admiring the beauty of life like the dot painting by the impressionist at night time in Ginza.


This double glazing façade with kinetic panels has not only the attractive effect toward the Ginza street but also the ecological effect to decrease the thermal disturbance for the building itself.
In summer, kinetic panels receive the sunlight and heated air is discharged from the top by its chimney effect. They improve the effect of sun cut and minimize the interior thermal disturbance. For this purpose, we put windows at the top and openings at the bottom. The window of the top opens and closes automatically in accordance with the temperature inside the double grazing. In winter, the warmed air inside the double glazing works as insulation by closing the top windows. Natural fresh air can be taken in the middle floor by opening the inner sash in spring and autumn. It actualizes comfortable work space without using HVAC equipment. The calculation shows this double glazing system reduces its annual consumption of HVAC energy by 30% compared with the single curtain wall system. The kinetic panels also defuse the sunlight to bring in light deeper inside. By installing the daylight sensor, energy for the artificial lighting is automatically cut back.



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