Latitude/Longitude: 35.63005, 139.79361
Tokyo Big Sight is the popular nickname for the Tokyo International Exhibition Center, a Japanese convention center that opened in April 1996. Located in the Ariake district on Tokyo Bay, the center is Japan’s largest convention venue. Its most iconic feature is the visually distinctive Conference Tower.
Tokyo Big Sight was a planned venue for the 2020 Summer Olympics and will host wrestling, fencing and taekwondo events, but cutting of public funds forced organization committee to choose alternative addition to serving as the main broadcasting center and press center for the Games.
Contracted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Bureau of Finance, the construction of the entire site was handled by eight contractors in total, among them companies such as the Hazama and Shimizu Corporations. Construction began in October 1992 and was finished in October 1995. The total contract was worth 40,392 million yen. Forty-five percent of that sum went to Hazama, the sole contractor of the Tower segment.
Then Governor of Tokyo Shunichi Suzuki was present at the 1994 lifting-up ceremony on June 30, which initiated the raising the Tower’s 6500-ton main structure above ground, a process which took three days to complete using a computer-guided system that precisely jacked the structure up into place. A 250-ton aerial escalator was installed later to formally link the raised structure to the ground floors.
The architectural element most associated with the Tokyo Big Sight name, the glass and titanium-panelled Conference Tower appears as a set of four inverted pyramids mounted upon large supports. The first floor comprises an 1100-seat reception hall and four conference rooms of varying size. The second floor comprises the Entrance Plaza which is the main access area, the glass-roofed Event Plaza, the Entrance Hall which leads to the exhibition halls proper, and the Exhibition Plaza. There are no floors three through five due to the structure’s above-ground stature.
⇒ Architecture Guide to TOKYO