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Kibi-cho City Hall

Wakayama, Japan

Design/Construction 1992-1994

Building Area: 1,624.43m²
Total Floor Area: 4,802.28m²
Reinfored Concrete
1Basement Floors 4Stories, 1Penthouse

[Kibi Dome]

Kibi-cho (the town of Kibi), located along the middle reaches of the Arita River in the northwestern part of Wakayama Prefecture, is the source of Kishu mandarin oranges. All around, the mandarin orange fields stretch from the feet of the mountains almost to the summits. The planned site is located on the southern foothills, providing a view of 70% of Kibi-cho. In front of the site are two ponds, Chogi Pond and Komo Pond. Behind, it is surrounded by mandarin orange covered mountains. Since the land is rich in water and greenery, I have aimed to preserve the natural topography as much as possible in studies for the master plan. The city hall administration building and parking lot is located on the flat area on the banks of Chogi Pond, the assembly building on the slopes of the mountain next to that, and the agricultural community center and culture hall on the skirts of the mountain beside Komo Pond. Each of these will have a unique space and shape, located in a scattered arrangement. The external walls are composed of transparent curtain walls, tiles with  triangular cross-sections, and architectural concrete. Entering the citizens' hall in the center of the administration building, one is greeted by a landscape that includes Komeyama, the highest mountain in Kibi-cho, and the Senbayama Mountain Range. In the spatial composition of the administration building, the atrium of the citizens' hall at the center incorporates this natural light and landscape, while the offices surround it in a U-shaped arrangement. Since Chogi Pond in the front is used as an adjustment pond for irrigation water and rainwater, the normal water level and the flood water level are more than two meters apart. A pond constructed in a round shape is located between this variable natural pond and the building, so that people visiting the government office building can enjoy a view of the water safely. The assembly building is connected by a bridge to the rooms related to the assembly, including the assembly members' waiting room on the fourth floor of the administration building. In addition, plenty of space will be provided for the listeners' lobby floor to encourage the active participation of residents, with the goal of an open assembly. Stairs following the cylindrical external wall or an elevator will lead to the listeners' seats. The plan includes a simple spatial composition and easily usable flow paths.  The angles of natural light during the course of each day, the ripples on the pond reflecting light, and the complex variations in the colors of the landscape will be incorporated in the colors of the building, while the wind blowing over the water's surface will gently pass through the rooms. I expect that the landscape which the people of the town have grown accustomed to will change in their eyes to take on the appearance of a fresh, new scenery.

Kibi Dome (Agricultural Community Center and Culture Hall)

Wakayama, Japan

Design/Construction 1993-1995

Building area: 981.37m²

Total floor area: 1,839.68m²

Reinfored concrete

1basement, 2stories

[Kibi-cho City Hall]

The town of Kibi adopted a plan for the construction of an agricultural community center and culture hall together with the development of the surrounding areas of Choza Pond and the construction of a new city hall. This plan called for the formation of an administrative and cultural zone in this town. The agricultural community center is provided with domestic environmental facilities including meeting facilities and educational facilities, in order to improve agricultural production and its domestic environment as a model project for the establishment of a comprehensive agricultural community. The center also emphasizes the conducting of continuing educational programs, with its major facilities consisting of multi-purpose training rooms, domestic training rooms, an agricultural consultation room and farming successors' assembly room. The culture hall serves as a multi-purpose hall having a fixed seating capacity of 300. It was constructed for the purpose of enabling citizens to participate in theatrical performances, musical performances, lecture meetings and other activities, while also providing an opportunity for citizens to come in contact with outstanding art and culture. During the course of proceeding with the design of this facility, a check of the two-dimensional form and three-dimensional space of each major room required by the facility revealed that a geometrical shape in the form of a sphere would result in the most lucid structure. By then dividing the sphere into three sections and providing each section with a ceiling height that is required for each function, a space was produced having three different heights within a single sphere having a radius of 16 meters. The area having the highest ceiling is the culture hall. This is followed by the multi-purpose training room, and finally the farming successors' assembly room having the lowest ceiling height.In addition, instead of making the cross-sectional walls of the sphere vertical but rather inclined at an angle of 4 degrees, a sense of tension was created in the slits. The internal portions of these slits comprise a common lobby. Natural lighting is allowed to enter the lobby through the use of ceiling lights, while the inclined walls maintain balance by approaching each other. The concrete for the dome was poured by arranging bars on an R-shaped temporary steel framework using an ordinary exposed concrete frame on both the inside and the outside, and fastening single tube pipes equipped with R-shaped sections with separators to bend the frame over the spherical surface.  The culture hall, having a room volume of 2000 cubic meters, realizes a satisfactory level of acoustic performance with minimal space by approaching recommended values suitable for chamber music, theatrical performances, movies and other forms of entertainment as a result of eliminating flutter and echo and setting a reverberation time of roughly 1.1 seconds.