Tokyo Innovates Education with The Cocoon Tower

Patrick CapriolaIn the city of Tokyo, where urban space is scarce, a new piece of architecture is continuing this city’s reputation of innovation. The Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower is a fifty story educational building, also known as a vertical campus. Buildings like this are likely to become the future of inner city school construction.

Designer, Paul Tange of the Tange Associates, created this structure with influences from nature in mind. This building was shaped like a cocoon and doubles as a useful metaphor to emphasize the student learning process. In an interview, he mentioned that school is like a cocoon where young adults are taught until they are ready and prepared to break through to the real world. In society, or outside of the cocoon, is where students will get to execute the ideas they’ve acquired from university.

The building contains several rectangular classrooms that are seated in a curvilinear fashion. There are also various student lounges that reach to three stories tall. Between classes, pupils can rest here and see an expansive view of the city while they break between learning sessions.

Continuing with nature’s role in the design of this one of a kind tower, it is also environmentally friendly. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, this building has found a way to cut down on carbon emissions and energy bills. The tower is able to produce forty percent of its own energy including heat and power. The system works simultaneously as it generates its necessary means.

The Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower is the third tallest educational building in the world. The Woolworth Building in New York City ranks at number one, while the Lomonosov State University’s Main Building in Moscow comes in at number two. This Cocoon Tower also stands out due to the number of students it holds. It is home to about 10,000 students from three different vocational universities.

This innovative building is a continuation of prior advances made by Tokyo. These include phenomenons such as the driverless train and robotic museum guides. Located in the city center of Nishi-Shinjuku, the Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower will continue to pave the way for urban educational structures.

To learn more and see images of this structure, visit CNBC’s article here:


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Patrick Capriola is a professional educator in Jacksonville, FL with over a decade of experience improving educational outcomes. He has served as a teacher, school administrator, and teacher trainer.