Kazuyo Se­jima + Ryue Nishizawa/ SANAA Tsu­ruoka Cul­tural Hall, Ja­pan

Domus - - CONTENTS - Text by Alice Co­vatta

In Tokyo in 1996, Toyo Ito pub­lished Di­a­gram Ar­chi­tec­ture (in El Cro­quis 77), which be­came the cen­tral text for an anal­y­sis of the first 10 years of Kazuyo Se­jima’s work and the 22 sub­se­quent years of the SANAA of­fice. This di­a­gram­matic ar­chi­tec­ture should be un­der­stood not as ar­chi­tec­ture de­rived from the draw­ing of a di­a­gram, but as a re­flec­tion on the di­a­gram­matic char­ac­ter of con­tem­po­rary life and the so­cial re­la­tions it en­tails, seek­ing to com­bine the ra­tio­nal sys­tem of ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ments, such as pro­gramme and struc­ture, with the sen­sa­tions and stim­uli of the ex­ter­nal world. An ex­am­ple is SANAA’s own prac­tice made up of two in­de­pen­dent stu­dios – Se­jima and Nishizawa – which work to­gether on the most chal­leng­ing projects when nec­es­sary. The prac­tice thus merges the three per­son­al­i­ties into a sin­gle whole, syn­er­gis­ti­cally height­en­ing the qual­i­ties of each. In their lat­est com­pleted work, which was re­cently in­au­gu­rated, the Ja­panese team pre­sented an ar­chi­tec­ture that achieves har­mony be­tween pro­gramme, struc­ture and con­text with a lan­guage that goes against the trend of its pre­vi­ous works. The project is the Shogin TACT Tsu­ruoka, the Cul­tural Hall for the city of Tsu­ruoka in north­ern Ja­pan,on the less man-made stretch of coast bor­der­ing the Sea of Ja­pan. It de­vel­ops as a mul­ti­func­tional space on the same site as the old cul­tural cen­tre, with the pur­pose of stim­u­lat­ing the whole of Ya­m­a­gata Pre­fec­ture via its fu­ture artis­tic ac­tiv­i­ties. Tsu­ruoka re­tains the char­ac­ter of the Edo pe­riod’sar­chaic­wood­en­houses,along­with­achurch,the uni­ver­sity and sev­eral art gal­leries. The city is bounded by the sa­cred Three Moun­tains of Dewa, whose peaks and gorges are fre­quented by pil­grims in search of shugendō, “the way to spir­i­tual power through as­ceti­cism”. Shugendō is at­tained by climb­ing the 2,466 stone steps of Mount Haguro, a sym­bol of death and re­birth, then Mount Gas­san wrapped in its misty and rar­efied at­mos­phere, and lastly Mount Yudono, with the fi­nal pu­rifi­ca­tion of body and soul in the wa­ters of its icy spring. It is along this path im­mersed in na­ture that vis­i­tors can at­tain aware­ness of the self through med­i­ta­tion. In 2012 SANAA won the com­pe­ti­tion and de­signed an ex­ten­sion for the com­mu­nity’s new civic ac­tiv­i­ties be­side a gar­den and a Han school. Their project in­cor­po­rated the pre-ex­ist­ing struc­tures of the stu­dent and artist col­lec­tives which were ac­tive at the time of the pre­vi­ous cul­tural cen­tre. The scheme’s main fea­ture is the au­di­to­rium,which­was­de­signed­with­are­duced­depth­to­close the gap be­tween au­di­ence and per­form­ers dur­ing shows. The tiered seat­ing is laid out like a ter­raced vine­yard so that the sound spreads uni­formly from the stage to each row of seats. Po­si­tioned at the cen­tre of the build­ing, the au­di­to­rium is sur­rounded by a cor­ri­dor that be­comes a func­tional pub­lic space, while also serv­ing as a link and fil­ter be­tween the var­i­ous ar­eas of the com­plex, which in­cludes re­hearsal rooms, halls for civic ac­tiv­i­ties and ser­vice spa­ces. When a per­for­mance re­quires greater pri­vacy, par­ti­tions can be used to cre­ate in­de­pen­dent spa­ces. The en­fold­ing move­ment of the cor­ri­dor re­calls the sayadō, an el­e­ment that al­lows for cir­cu­la­tion in­tem­ples.One­ofthe­clear­es­tex­am­ple­soft­h­is­fea­tureis the Bud­dhist tem­ple of Chū­son-ji Kon­jikidō, where the sayadō makes the sa­cred area per­me­able and elim­i­nates the dis­tinc­tion be­tween the front and the rear. As with all SANAA’s projects, the pro­gramme seeks new com­po­si­tional re­la­tions and so­cial nar­ra­tives, but at the same time each room be­comes in­de­pen­dent both struc­turally and spa­tially. Hence

‘The essence of ab­sence’ is the means of achiev­ing aware­ness of the self

from out­side the build­ing ap­pears frag­mented into sev­eral vol­umes that high­light the steel struc­ture, rem­i­nis­cent of the re­cent Junko Fuku­take Hall and de­vi­at­ing from pre­vi­ous projects. Each of the rooms has a sep­a­rate roof. The one over the au­di­to­rium is im­pos­ing and dom­i­nates the com­plex, while the other roofs slope down to­wards the park, mak­ing the build­ing a col­lec­tion of vol­umes set at dif­fer­ent heights, rather than a sin­gle el­e­ment jar­ringly out of scale with its set­ting. This so­lu­tion evokes the tall roofs of Bud­dhist tem­ples as well as the roof-gar­den con­nec­tion in Kengo Kuma’s de­sign for the Nezu Mu­seum in Tokyo. Near the street, some of the struc­tures stand just one storey high, or match the height of the old city walls, re­flect­ing a minute ur­ban scale in har­mony with the ad­ja­cent his­tor­i­cal build­ings and the city as a whole. By con­trol­ling in­di­vid­ual vol­umes within an in­de­pen­dent sys­tem, SANAA de­fines the spa­ces with vary­ing de­grees of pri­vacy and seeks spe­cific re­la­tions with na­ture. Be­neath the maze of roofs, one finds cov­ered ar­eas without air con­di­tion­ing that re­call the en­gawa ty­pol­ogy of Ja­panese tra­di­tion. These hy­brid el­e­ments mark the edges around the whole build­ing, split­ting open the sharp­ness of its perime­ter. By shar­ing the struc­ture’s light and to­pog­ra­phy, they of­fer con­ti­nu­ity be­tween the ex­pe­ri­ence of the ar­chi­tec­ture’s in­te­rior and ex­te­rior. Such tran­si­tional el­e­ments are im­por­tant in Ja­panese cul­ture as they cre­ate a grad­ual ap­proach be­tween the build­ing and its set­ting. The same char­ac­ter can also be found in the high-den­sity neigh­bour­hoods of the cap­i­tal. The in­ter­sti­tial spa­ces and their sub­tle ori­en­ta­tions con­vey the im­pres­sion of stand­ing on a stage to view the park and moun­tains. It is dif­fi­cult to tell whether these are ef­fects in­duced on the land­scape or struc­tural el­e­ments of the project it­self, like a glove turned in­side out and open to na­ture. Ap­par­ently un­sta­ble and in­com­plete, the asym­met­ri­cal ar­chi­tec­ture elic­its sim­plic­ity and el­e­gance as ideals of beauty, con­so­nant with all Ja­panese art, while en­hanc­ing the sense of har­mony and unity. Per­haps as never be­fore, in this project SANAA has ex­pressed the pro­found sense of this cul­ture, us­ing an in­no­va­tive lan­guage. “The essence of ab­sence” is the means of achiev­ing aware­ness of the self. In the clas­si­cal Ja­panese arts, beauty lies in the re­dis­cov­ered void, in a lack ofdec­o­ra­tion,inthep­ale­colour­sofce­ram­ics,inthe­white space be­tween ideograms, in the chore­og­ra­phy of

flo­ral com­po­si­tions. The value of ma (si­lence in the Nō theatre), chin­moku (si­lence as a medium of com­mu­ni­ca­tion in ev­ery­day life) and the sim­plic­ity of monas­tic life are paths to union with na­ture. In the end, Ja­pan re­minds us that this im­pelling de­sire to de­fine and write about beauty is largely a West­ern urge. If we were to ask a Ja­panese to trans­late the mean­ing of wabi-sabi – sim­plic­ity and el­e­gance as aes­thetic ideals – with a trace of em­bar­rass­ment she would say that it is an unan­swer­able ques­tion, be­ing too com­pli­cated to ex­plain, and then fall silent. Only in the void does the con­stant dia­lec­tic be­tween the ra­tio­nal and emo­tional spheres find its bal­ance in the fi­nal har­mony be­tween the hu­man soul and the soul of na­ture. Alice Co­vatta (Mestre, 1985) is an ar­chi­tect and il­lus­tra­tor. She is a Ja­pan Foun­da­tion fel­low at Keio Uni­ver­sity in Tokyo.

Tsu­ruoka Cul­tural Hall, Ya­m­a­gata Pre­fec­ture, Ja­pan

Project: Kazuyo Se­jima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA Co-au­thors: Shinbo Ar­chi­tects Of­fice; Ishikawa Ar­chi­tects Of­fice De­sign team: Kazuyo Se­jima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA: Kazuyo Se­jima, Ryue Nishizawa, Rikiya Ya­mamoto, Satoshi Ikeda, Takuma Yoko­mae, Ko­hei Kudo, Hayao Oda­giri Shinbo Ar­chi­tects Of­fice: Takashi Maruyama, Ya­sushi Ota Ishikawa Ar­chi­tects Of­fice: Yuji Ishikawa, To­mo­hiro Ishikawa Struc­tural en­gi­neer­ing: ARUP Elec­tri­cal and me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing: Sogo Con­sul­tants Con­sul­tants: Shozo Mo­to­sugi theatre plan­ning); Na­gata Acous­tics (theatre acous­tics); Mo­toi Hat­tori (theatre light­ing); Takahiro Chiba (cli­mate engi­neer) Client: Tsu­ruoka City Site area: 13,096.84 sq. m To­tal floor area: 7,846.12 sq. m De­sign phase: Au­gust 2012 to Novem­ber 2013 Con­struc­tion phase: Oc­to­ber 2014 to Au­gust 2017 Cost: € 64.021.776

Above: de­tail of the front over­look­ing the street. The build­ing is part of a dis­trict rich with pre-ex­ist­ing his­tor­i­cal struc­tures and cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions, such as uni­ver­si­ties and art gal­leries. To re­late the vol­ume more har­mo­niously to its con­text, the de­sign­ers have off­set the roof­ing el­e­ments so that those around the perime­ter slope down to the height of a sin­gle storey

15 Park­ing 16 Void 17 Quiet room 18 Con­trol booth 1 En­trance 2 Wind­break 3 En­trance hall 4 Prac­tice room 5 Of­fice 6 Child care 7 Meet­ing room 8 Dress­ing room 9 Ter­race 10 Artists’ lounge 11 Au­di­to­rium 12 Stor­age 13 Stu­dio 14 Load­ing

These pages: the gen­er­ous in­te­rior cir­cu­la­tion spa­ces are dom­i­nated by sail-like wooden slat­ted ceil­ings and re­ceive dif­fused nat­u­ral light. Above: the en­trance hall; op­po­site page: the cor­ri­dor in front of one of the dress­ing rooms leads to a re­lax­ation area for artists and a ter­race

Right: a pas­sage­way to a block of the per­form­ers’ dress­ing rooms, with en­trances re­served for them at the rear of the fly tower (to the left) Above and be­low: views of the au­di­to­rium, with tiered seat­ing laid out like a ter­raced vine­yard for sound prop­a­ga­tion, echo­ing Hans Scharoun’s seat­ing ar­range­ment in the Ber­lin Phil­har­monic

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.