A small smoking space combining two shipping containers appeared in front of a railway station in Tokyo, reflecting the increasing need for isolated smoking spaces for the purpose of preventing second-hand smoke. The site is the space left between the station platform, the escalator and elevator to the station, and the police box. We put two 20-foot shipping containers here, one horizontally and one vertically.
About half of the horizontally placed container is external space so that they can be used continuously with the surrounding area. The vertically placed container has a 5 meters high ceiling space, and the rising airflow exhausts smoke from the upper part of the container, reducing the cost for the air cleaner machine.
The two containers are arranged diagonally to reduce the pressure on surrounding people. Large windows frame the surrounding daily landscape, allow light and wind pass by, and place visitors in the midst of the ordinary scenery around the station.
A good "scent" planting (Orange osmanthus, Daphne odora, Gardenia, Chinese quince, Meratia praecox, Agnus castus, Brazilian sage) was planted in the niches created by the diagonal arrangement. By reversing the unpleasant image of "smelly" smoking area, we aimed to create a comfortable place for both smokers and non-smokers as like a natural park.
Towards inclusive architecture again
COVID-19 seems to have brought the realization of an ideal “Smart City” in which humans isolated in the shelter interact only through the Internet. But was that really what we expected of architecture and cities? Should architecture optimistically take part in separating this side and that side, or the self and others?
Thinking again, it can be said that "Smoking Space" is the typical building type whose purpose is "isolation" or "disconnection". With the aim of preventing second-hand smoke, smoking areas have always been forced into corners of the world, and actually I myself, as a non-smoker, have hated smokers. However, given the opportunity to design a smoking space, I realized that I had been unknowingly involved in this structure of “exclusion”. Then we thought this project should not be an architecture that deny the richness of the diversity of the world.
How can we avoid such exclusive architecture? As long as we “design” by giving a proper scale and proportion to the smoking behavior, we will never escape from “function”-oriented architecture. Rather, we decided to use “shipping container”, whichis a steel object whose vertical and horizontal height dimensions are predetermined according to the loading requirements during transportation. We thought that just placing a steel object of a size determined from another logic would create a space that was thrown into the public beyond the function.
As a result, a lot of undefined places was “created”, together with the arrangement of the containers out of alignment. How will people discover and use this place? We hope that the shipping containers that suddenly appear in public space will serve long time as a place for strolling, relaxing, and having unnecessary communications.
1. CONTAINER HOUSE 2040.JP – CONTAINER - 20FTHC
2. Panasonic – Ventilation fan - FY-25DCF3
3. Panasonic – 24-hour ventilation fan - FY-08PD9
4. Kyodo LLC. – Straight tube fluorescent lamp - GT-RGD-T518WCW
5. TOLI–PVC floor tile - CIGAHARD PLUS NW9119
6. sangetsu–Vinyl cloth - TH30257
7. TOKYOKOEI–Artificial deck - VITAL DECK R25
8. savor inc. – Stainless steel handrail
9. Ashford Japan – Dustproof coating - aquacolor 3rd edition