Construction of Fuji Television's new headquarters - the Fuji Television Building - in the waterfront area of Tokyo's Minato district has been completed, and broadcasting from the new location commenced at the end of March 1997. The new building - designed by Kenzo Tange Associates - adds to the dynamic skyline and is a superb complement to the architecturally innovative buildings of the waterfront area.
More than just a building with a unique design, the new headquarters houses a high-profile next-generation broadcasting center with an eye to the future. The building, which in many ways captures the essence of what's best about Japan, has quickly attracted attention and thus a crowd of visitors and is destined to become a Tokyo landmark.
A new landmark
The new Fuji Television Building can be seen from the recently opened Yurikamome monorail that leaves from Shimbashi station. On the left side of the new headquarters is the media tower, which is also home to the Nippon Broadcasting Company, and on the right is the office tower. Between the towers is a group of large studios arranged side by side. The media and office towers are connected by three enclosed pedestrian bridges dubbed "sky corridors."
The headquarters has 25 aboveground and 2 underground floors. Just to the left of the media tower is a unique spherical observation platform, with 53 square meters of floor space and a 32-meter diameter. The building stands 123.45 meters high and comprises a total floor space of 142,800 square meters. Construction began in May 1993 and was completed in June 1996. The project totaled nearly 185 billion yen, with construction costs coming in at 130 billion yen.
An important consideration when designing this kind of building is ensuring adequate space for people to gather and exchange ideas. The headquarters' 4.8-meter-wide corridors provide not only convenient walkways but valuable space for casual talk and impromptu discussion. The building's design emphasizes space and openness, which are important concepts to the image that Fuji Television wants to project. Kajima engineers used the "Mast Column"construction method, which features four steel-frame pillars grouped together, symbolic of the consolidation of our group companies, each supporting the other.
In addition, the corridors connecting the two towers strengthen the structure, making it highly earthquake resistant.
Spherical observation platform The design of Fuji Television's new broadcasting station, located within the headquarters, emphasizes the company's concept of openness. Now open to the public, the spherical observation platform is certain to become a popular spot from which visitors can view the city. To the west are unobstructed views of such landmarks as Tennouzu-Isle, the NEC Corp. headquarters, Tokyo Tower, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, and St. Luke Garden as well as a glorious view of Mt. Fuji at dusk. The water provides a relaxing backdrop, and the night view of Tokyo is spectacular.
Raising the observation platform into position was a major task for the crew; besides weighing 1,350 tons, the platform's center of gravity is not at its core. Two or three options were considered, but in the end it was decided that the platform would be constructed on the rooftop garden of the seventh floor, where it was balanced horizontally on and supported by three beams, and then raised by hydraulic jacks. On the day the platform was raised'a beautiful day with almost no wind'around 1,300 people, including Hisashi Hieda, president of Fuji Television, and Kenzo Tange were in attendance.
Divided into two phases, at a rate of five meters per hour, the raising of the platform took a total of nine and a half hours.
The observation platform's external surface is salt air damage resistant titanium that features an appealing reflective finish with a crisp color that is pleasant to the eye. Aluminum curtain wall was used for the outside walls of the building to project a transparent image in line with the idea of a broadcasting center open to new ideas and the public.
Although the new building has less floor space than the 36-story Kasumigaseki Building, which at one time was a Tokyo landmark, the complex design of the new Fuji Television Building has resulted in an outer wall area three times greater than that of the earlier building, which has a standard four-wall design. The construction of the exterior of the headquarters presented a few problems, so we enlisted the help of 10 curtain-wall makers and unified the management team.
A great deal of time and energy went into creating the broadcasting studios, which were designed for state-of-the-art functions. One of the challenges we faced along the way was that of acoustics. In this new multimedia and multichannel era, high-definition television is becoming the norm, and with the change from analog broadcasting to digital, the need to transmit large quantities of information is more important than ever. In addition, viewers have become more quality-conscious as well as more astute in recognizing quality sound. For this reason, such facilities as tilted cycloramas, the walls used by studios for backdrops, were introduced to deliver the best sound available.
The studios were designed to shut out the noise of trains, cars, escalators, and even radio waves from passing ships. Glass wool insulation was used for the studio floor as well as the walls and ceiling to absorb obtrusive sounds.
The majority of television studios have taken to using two-sided cycloramas, which help to make the background appear infinitely wide and high. In this new era of wide-screen and high-definition television, Fuji Television decided to go one step further, introducing three-sided cycloramas; however, this caused sound to bounce back and forth between the walls. To deal with this problem, we decided to tilt the walls of the cyclorama inward, although there was a chance the picture could distort and dust gather on the walls. This was the first attempt to tilt the walls of a cyclorama, and numerous sound tests with the walls positioned at varying angles were performed using a scale model one-twentieth the studio's actual size.
With a floor space of 1,000 square meters, the class V4 studios at the new headquarters are Japan's largest. Moreover, studios and sound rooms are being adjoined and there are plans for 150 more rooms. People place great emphasis on sound quality, and there are many areas of sound improvement that have yet to be explored.