Page 14 - MODUS NEWS 03
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Tama Art
Tama Art University Library (Hachioji campus)
There was an initial proposal to place the entire volume of the library underground to achieve a space resembling a cave. For various reasons, however, Ito found the proposal impossible. Although he started designing the volume aboveground, he still tried to build a subterranean space. A continuous, dome-like space was designed by subtracting volumes from the subterranean space aboveground. More volumes were trimmed down, and it became a structural system of a series of domes and arches.
The arches have been designed to follow gentle curves at different angles. These continuous curves of arches articulate space into blocks of squares and triangles. Due to the strategic placement of the furniture that penetrates the space, paradoxically contradicting characteristics - flow and stillness - were attributed to the reading area. The slope of the ground floor follows the natural decline of the land, so that the architecture integrates with the surrounding environment. In this way, spatial continuity is maintained between the inside and outside spaces. This spatial concept will give freedom and richness to the architecture, receiving natural energy that rises up from the earth and transforming it into an architectural order.
Meiso no Mori Municipal Funeral Hall
Toyo Ito’s idea was to respond not with a conventional, massive crematorium but with a space formed by a roof that is like a cloud, which, drifting through the sky, has come to settle upon the site, creating a pleasantly soft atmosphere. A gently curved, reinforced concrete shell structure was investigated to construct a roof characterized by concavities and convexities. The final shape of the roof structure was determined by an algorithm that generated the optimum structural solution. The curved line becomes a landscape in harmony with the contours of the surrounding mountains. Four structural cores and 12 columns with built-in rainwater collection pipes are placed according to structural balance under the roof structure. Ceremonial spaces are placed between the cores and columns. The smooth curvature of the roof surface also articulates the ceiling in the interior. Indirect light softly illuminates the curved ceiling and spreads in all directions. The funeral ceremonies are held in this serene space with expressive nuances of light.
This was a reconstruction project of an old, deteriorated crematorium in Kakamigahara, which was planned to integrate into the surrounding cemetery on the site. The location of the site is peaceful, facing a pond that stretches out to the north and is nestled into the verdant mountains to the south. The design brief called for a sublime space that would give last honors to the deceased while subtly integrating into the surrounding landscape of the cemetery.

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