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Cubes Magazine

Not Your Average Bank

The Nakaaoki Branch of the Sugamo Shinkin Bank in Tokyo resides in a colourful box that changes expression when seen from different angles.

BY Janice Seow

January 7th, 2015

It’s not often that one comes across a financial institution that dares to step so boldly away from convention. So when Sugamo Shinkin Bank in Tokyo decided to take a leap ‘out of the box’, Emmanuelle Moureaux Architecture set out to give them just that.


The design concept was driven primarily by the bank’s location on the corner of a major intersection, where there is high vehicular and pedestrian traffic.


The façade is composed of repetitive cubes of four different depths, and are designed to be rhythmical, changing expression as people see it from different angles.


Small elevated gardens reside within 12 of the cubes, where the seasonal changes in nature are expressed by seasonal flowers like marigold and lavender, as well as olive trees. Gardens can also be viewed from the open space on the first floor, and from the financing section and cafeteria on the second floor.


Sunlight filters through the foliage in the elevated gardens on the south facing façade and enters the bank’s interiors, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for visitors.


Emmanuelle Moureaux Architecture