Ofunato Cultural Center “Rias Hall”, opened 2009, and the Yurihonjyo City Cultural Center “Kadare”, opened in 2011, are like brothers. We started the schematic design of Kadare only a year and a half after starting planning for Rias Hall.
My associates and I have found a new method of architecture making through these two projects. The buildings were made through di f ferent processes cohering conditions and regional qualities of each city, Ofunato and Yurihonjyo. We defined these architectures, “Regional Institution”; It is an architecture that almost creates culture by enhancing the activating the region. It is a concept that architecture made through a process, reflects regional qualities and close discussions with the local residents, will be home base to cultural activities that will make the region lively. Regional Institution, the architecture will be a very original onlyone- architecture of the region.
We make a “design script” based on repeated hearings and discussions with the citizens. This is a summary of the various programs needed in that region and what becomes the core concept for the designing, just like script for movies. In the Ofunato project, Rias rocks and the Anatoshi-iso, coastline rock with a mysterious hole, were strong key images of the design script, while this time with Kadare, universe, science, technology and Gotenmari, a traditional ball of Yurihonjyo city, colorful embroidery strings are used for decoration, were strong images. Yurihonjyo city has been focusing on science education and is well equipped with facilities such as planetarium and atsronomical observing space. Community Hall, Community Center, Library and other educational institutions each had been managed individually for more than 30 years. Reflecting on these histories of local people’s endeavor, and taking in their opinions from an early stage of the designing process, the building started to look like a spaceship. We decided that this was to be a ship of science that will foster the next generation. To achieve this, we aimed to have a multipurpose transforming hall and to make it the world’s best cultural institution.
Kadare is a three storied complex, total area of 11,750 square meters, and it consisting of functions such as Theater, Library, Communi ty Hal l , Educat ion Laboratory, Product Pavilion, Restaurant and more.
The institution consists of three main zones. Firstly, there is “Gathering Street”. This is a stairwell of 1st and 2nd floors running in North-South direction and is an access space to all the programs of Kadare. People will gather and quest and communicate in this bright street full of exciting stimuli.
Secondly, “Super Box”, a formation of Theater, Citizen Activity Room, Gallery and north and south Pocket Parks combined. These facilities can be connected together to make a 135meters long dynamic and spacious tunnel.
And Lastly, the “Planetar ium and Astronomical Observation Room”. This oval-sphere floating above the Library can be used in collaboration with Natural Science Study Room and other rooms such as the Training Room. In the Library, of 220,000 volumes, my associates and I have also included a Reading Space and various Browsing Spaces to activate imaginations of children. Other smaller zone are as follows. In the north zone of the first floor, Regional Product Pavilion, Restaurant and Tourist Information Corner are placed providing various helpful services for the local residents. While in the south zone, there are Studio, Practice room, Cooking room and innovative terrace providing spaces for hobbies, l i felong educat ion and communication. On the second floor, there are Japanese style rooms and Tea rooms for succession of traditional culture and holding various conferences.
Originally, the building was to be two separate institutions, “Educational” and “Living/Communication” on sites that sandwiched Shin-Touchounan Road. In our plan we had relocated the road to detour eastward around the combined site and suggested a composite institution of the functions to maximize its merit as a complex. We combined the institutions by placing an indoor “Gathering Steet” that gives access to both program areas where the Shin-Touchounan road had been.
Kadare is an ecological 21st century building. It is carefully planned to be environmentally friendly, be useful in various situations and withstand the harsh winter of Yurihonjyo city.
One of the main issues of Kadare was to find an effective way to lead in fresh air and the sunlight to reach al l of i ts 6,775meter s squared area (130 meters long nor th-south di rect ion, width of 78meters). Through consideration, we have placed a wellhole public space, “Gathering Street”, running in middle of the complex for natural air conditioning system. The dampers above four ent rance windbreak rooms, windows of the high-side light, and smoke exhaust windows are all inter-controlled from the Managing Room and it allows effective natural ventilation. Kadare reduces the use of electrical light during the day by effectively leading in natural light into places where people gather. In addition, LED light is used for light design in the Gathering Street as part of energy-saving plan.
S e c o n d l y , w a l l s a r e o u t s i d e insulationand have layered sash for effective inner air-conditioning management during harsh cold winter. Lastly the third point is that the spacious Multi-purpose Hall area is occupied space air conditioned. To achieve this in all parts of the auditorium, the seat manufacturer and our associates have co-invented moving and air-conditioned theater seats. Also, open air cooling is used as part of a Hall conditioning system.
There were many issues in Yurihonjyo city project. The use of the hall in project complex was undef ined, there wer e variety of different opinions about the management of the city after large scale aggregation and 30 years long history of the independent management of the Community Center, Cultural Hall and Library. Citizens also had individual council teams independent from the city office, different opinions of the students and professors at Akita Prefecture University the works of the officers providing many facilities to the city and all of these needed to be reflected to the new building. In this project, it was most important for us to manage and adjust around these different backgrounds. Therefore we made suggestions about how the city should be because the meaning and function within a large area of the new institution was vital.
Our challenging but concrete idea to use the two sites together maximizing the merit as a complex, had won the competition. We started with introductions, explanation of the competition idea and worked hard to understand the movements within the city previous to the competition. Though work with the City Building Council, we had visits to existing similar institutions and held discussions with the citizens. Our project team and the Yurihonjyo citizens together cultivated images about the plans of the institution in the city. Through repeated citizen surveys and hearings, many explanation sessions and discussions, we had realized “compacting the city” as the main issue of this project. The new institution was developed to be the official displacement of the existing institutions. Programs and the hard were adjusted to enforce this role of the new building. (refer next page)
Since the retirement of premier mayor- and commissioning of the new mayor who is not from Honjyo city- the focus of the plan had been reinforced on Yurihonjyo city as a whole and the building plan was re-considered during construction. We changed programs and some zone areas to suit the new target of the building. After the completion of the building, the Council was enlarged to “Working Group” . Here not only the managers but also local residents are actively discussing about Kadare and the city. In the future, they will have a voluntary events executive.
Yurihonjyo city is relatively a compact city in Japan. City building, Honjyo Park, the station, shopping arcade are all placed within a close proximity. To use this characteristics to activate the city, we had suggested a city plan overlooking in to “100 years in the future” along with the institution plan. The essence of the proposal is to grow the “Center of center” of the city. It is a plan to redevelop the decided, most important center in an areal approach; the projects in these area will interact with each other spreading its dynamics further and further creating scenes unlike plans where redevelopment of institutions are interspersed among the city and no interaction effect of these projects happen.
Several Japanese cities, such as Ise and Kurashiki, have its most lively districts are within area of 400meters diameter. This is also a size that pedestrians can explore. I have planned Kadare as a starting and leading booster of further city building. We have organized the programs needed and condensed institutions of the cities to Kadare. We bel ieve, wi th fur ther organization of the green roads and parking spaces, the entire area will thrive in the future. The project had prevented grand-retail stores leaving the city. I know it is quite rare for retail stores to quit their flee to sub-urban areas, so these happening shows that this mid-long span project gained trust even from the perceptions of entrepreneurs. In Yurihonjyo city, the Second government office building and the fire station is under the process of relocation. Corresponding to the opening to Kadare, 6 shops such as rental video stores, national chain convenience stores and restaurants had opened in the surroundings. The city is beginning to thrive. I believe this is one of the effects of architecture, which is to ‘build’ something.
We had started from making 1/50 physical models to consider the architecture together with the council and the local residents. People gave ideas about the first floor and second floor separately without any constraints, and separately without any constraints, and ideas about bending the Gathering Street to give a view of the space ahead. We aimed to make a building that combines these ideas as possible. Often when you design a stacked building achieving, all the requests such as area needed for activity or open columnless spaces becomes difficult because these spaces have to be forceful ly accommodated within box structure. However, with this new method, the architecture will be somesthetic and the tilted wall to coheres structure can respond flexibly to requests.
Since the project of “Ofunato Ci ty Community Center and Library”, our firm practice have latest three-dimensional CAD facilities to study space. In this project, we have developed the use of 3D modeling technology further; structural analysis, construction drawings, methods and order of construction, pre-construction planning and construction management communication are all done on this same data. This same data was also used for simulation such as acoustic studies, air conditioning of the occupied space of the auditorium and air conditioning of the whole theater. Through the simultaneous studies of space on CAD and physical modeling, we were able to create space quality that no one has ever seen or experienced.
The very complicated form of Kadare is a fruit passion and endeavor Toda Corporation and skillful techniques of the carpenters of north Japan. Our 3D design and structure model data was converted to 2D data by the Toda Corporation. If any construction problem were to arise, 3D data was built on spot or corrections were made directly on the modeling data and construction drawings were modified. On the construction site, there were; CAD Center where the frame work carpenters brought their own computers to make necessary drawings based on construction drawings and two framework processers for more accurate construction. The construction plans were also actively discussed at the construction site, using models and full scale mock-ups.
On the experimental mock-up of leaning- LED-embedded-wall (refer to right corner picture, picture on the right top), we had confirmed methods of fixing concrete formwaorks, bar arrangements and how to set lightings. On four of our exterior wall mock-ups, we have tested whether the materials and the method of construction were relevant to manufacture exterior walls that can withstand the harsh winter of Northeast Japan. Titanium and zinc alloy was suitable metal for exterior walls as it is weatherresistant and self-repairing. For the interior, we made mock-up of metal ceilings. About 4000 meters squared area of the ceiling is metal sheet finish and this experiment was useful to consider cost and construction order of mechanical facilities of the ceiling. Also, we had made some mock-ups of the movable seats and louvers of the theater for its sufficient consideration.
The construction of the oval sphereaccommodating the Natural Science Room 2, the Planetarium facilities and Astronomical Observation Room- was one of our biggest challenges. It is a compound of steel made supporting frameworks constructed, in a conventional method, and the sphere constructed by truss wall method. Both parts were made with outstanding construction technology based on 3D data. Shown right are our construction process of the temporal worksand considerations of steel frameworks. Its curved steel beams suppor t ing the sphere was precisely fabricated as it was designed on 3D modeling.
Here is the order of construction on the oval-sphere. The steel frame dome of the Planetarium screen base was placed first, then prefabricated truss wall parts- a combination of reinforcing rods and frame work- were attached, finally the concrete was poured. Also, for the bottom curving surface of the sphere frameworks were made of polystyrene. I hope that these passion for product ma k i ng a nd t h e wo r ld’s h igh e s t technology of Akita prefecture can be sensed by the children reading books in the Library or visiting the planetarium.
Our aim of the project was to make “ the best multipurpose theater that can be transformed into flat floor with movable seats of acoustics quality equal to that of fixed seats.” This Hall of 1110seates(of which 6 are for wheelchair and 8 are for family), can be transformed into over 10 varying forms including a flat floor configuration. In addition, there is a special characteristic to this hall; I called it “Super Box”. When mobile seats are stored away, the Hall, Citizen Activity Room, Gallery and the Pocked Park will interconnect to a large spacious flat tunnel linking the north and south roads . It is adaptable to many varieties of events.
The theme for the curtain is “Gotenmari (traditional ball)” and “the universe” the lighting design is planned to a theme of “star lights observed from space ship during its journey,”. The seats are specially invented through numerous experiments and refinements for this project . You can meet outstanding acoustics with flexible sea configurations, Kadare.