53-yr old office conversion in Chiyoda-ku

The C Uchikanda 3

Real estate developer Hulic Co., Ltd. has converted a 53 year old office building in Chiyoda-ku into a trendy shared apartment, office and event space. The building has been named ‘the c’ to represent the keywords behind the project, which were central, conversion, communication, culture and create.

Floors 3 to 9 have been converted into shared residential space, with a shared office space located on the 2nd floor. The top floor of the building has been turned into a shared lounge, theatre room and dining space for both residents and office workers. An event space was created in the building’s basement which can be rented out for events and meetings. The rooftop has an open terrace with wi-fi access.

The C Uchikanda 5

Planning and design was carried out by Shibuya-based renovation company ReBITA Inc, with additional design supervision by Atelier Nanjo. Interiors were decorated by furniture store Cibone and designer George Amano.

Creating residential space in an office building required some creative changes.

Under local construction safety regulations, living spaces are required to have external windows. There are also requirements for evacuation routes, which are typically escape hatches and ladders on each balcony.

The existing design of the building made it difficult to provide windows to every bedroom, and the lack of space between the building and the road made it impossible to add external balconies for escape routes.

To meet these requirements, inner balconies were created. These inner balconies have become part of the building’s common area and can be used as emergency evacuation routes by the occupants. The inner balconies can be treated as verandahs or open corridors and satisfy light requirements under the Building Standards Act.

The C Uchikanda 1
An apartment and inner balcony.

 

To meet ventilation requirements, exhaust and ventilation systems had to be installed inside the rooms and inside the inner balconies. Due to the building’s age, additional braces were added to provide reinforcement against earthquakes.

The C Uchikanda 2
Reinforcing supports were added alongside external walls.

 

The 9-storey steel frame and reinforced concrete building sits on a 350 sqm block and land and has a total floor space of 3,410 sqm. The building size exceeds current zoning regulations, which means redevelopment would result in a smaller building.

Renovation work was completed at the end of December 2014, and Hulic began advertising the residential spaces from January 2015. Some of the apartments come furnished.

There are 54 rooms in the shared apartment space. Apartments are leased under 1-year fixed-term contracts, with ReBITA as the landlord. Rooms range in size from 12 ~ 26 sqm (129 ~ 279 sqft) and rent for 111,000 ~ 138,000 Yen per month (including utilities and internet charges). Bathrooms and laundry facilities are shared.

The office space includes fixed desks and free desks. Leases are under 1-year terms, although they are considering introducing a ‘drop-in’ system where you pay as you go. Fixed desks start from 40,000 Yen per month, while free desks range from 7,500 ~ 15,000 Yen per month depending on access hours. Printers and lockers are charged based on usage.

The C Uchikanda 4
The office floor.

 

In recent years, vacancy rates in old office buildings in central Tokyo, including the Chyoda and Chuo areas, have been increasing. The Uchikanda area has also seen a growing vacancy rate in commercial buildings.

Location

1-15-10 Uchikanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Sources:
Nikkei Business Publications, January 28, 2015.
The C website (http://www.the-c.tokyo/)

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