In Japan where space is at a premium strange things happen.
One of the most curious buildings in Japan is the Gate Tower Building in Osaka, Japan. The 5th, 6th and 7th floors of this 16-story office building is occupied by an express highway – passing right through the building. On the building’s floor information board on the ground floor, the tenants for the three floors are listed as the Hanshin Expressway. You realize this as the elevator skips from the 4th floor to straight to the 8th.
The Gate Tower Building is actually the result of an unusual compromise between the land owner and the Japanese government. The land has been occupied by a wood and charcoal processing company since the early Meiji period, but the gradual move to other sources of fuel resulted in the deterioration of those company buildings. In 1983, the redevelopment of the area was decided upon, but building permits were refused because the highway was already being planned to be built over this land. The property rights’ holders refused to give up, and negotiated with the Hanshin Expressway corporation for approximately 5 years to reach the current solution.
Aside from the intrusive highway, business at the Gate Tower Building is almost normal. The highway does not make contact with the building, and a structure surrounding the highway keeps noise and vibration out.