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The Ice Cubes, Jun Mitsui, tokyo, fritted glass, H&M building, ice cube building, high performance facade

The building’s compact site required special attention to maximize space, so the store became a mid-rise tower composed of interlocking cubic volumes. Programmatic and structural requirements helped shape the volumes, which were also required to appear light as a feather. The site also had very strict requirements as to the available air space (tenku-ritsu) and sun/shadow requirements.

Working closely with the glass manufacturer, Jun Mitsui and his team designed a baked ceramic frit pattern on the exterior of the glass. If the frit pattern had been placed on the interior of the glass, it would made the glass look green. Since they were going more for a frosted look, the frit pattern is on the outside and thus is milky white. The fritting is not only an aesthetic strategy, but also an energy efficient strategy that helps keep the building from overheating, while still allowing in daylight. The end result was a very dramatic building that attracted H&M, which values high-impact design, to want to be the main tenant.