Architectural Case Study by Thom Shen
This is Ishigami’s first realised project which is located in the campus of KAIT with many trees surrounding the site. With transparent envelope outside and steel columns inside, the whole project is an ambitious makeover which intends to redefine the modest scale for people to work. With the vegetation introduced into interior, utilising the transparent enclosure, delicate steel column and thin steel canopy create a transparent and flow space and shorten the distance between it and nature.
As the notion revealed in the desk and other furniture he designed, Ishigami also wants to explore the potential of space by using transparent and thin material, in order to lessen the obstruction between people and space. With the vegetation planted interior, the forest which comprises 305 slender steel 5m-high columns does not only bear the weight of structure but also establish the visual connection between the grid of columns and natural one. The transparent envelope blurs the boundaries between interior and exterior, which makes the architecture integrated into the surroundings. Moreover, to ensure that users would be have the freedom to alter the spaces to meet different needs within a reasonably short time period, it’s inclined to pursue flexibility in the relations between adjoining places, and in the way various spaces are connected with each other. This experimental view led to the notion that the soft, ambiguous kind of borders could be invented by raising pillars in a random fashion.
Still focusing on modest scale of space, Ishigami utilise the innovative structure component and architectural material to define spaces in a reasonable scale for people to work and combine them as a whole flexible space with very ambiguous borderlines, which has a fluctuation between local spaces and the overall space, rather than a universal space like that of Mies. The transparent envelope strengthens creates a flexible open space which has a spatial and visual connection withthe natural suroundings. The boundaries between inside and out is blurred by it, which make it possible for the architecture and people inside be integrated into the environment. In addition, the smooth glass also reflects the image of trees surrounding the buildings, just like the shadow flickering on the paper windows in Japanese residence, which response visually to the forest surrounding the building. In addition, also like traditional Japanese borrowed scenery, the surrounding landscape serves as the backdrop for the interior . While the transparent enclosure exposes everything inside, the delicate steel columns define scattered oases of open space, each one a different functional component.Introducing the plants into the working space which makes the grid of thin steel column function as artificial forest which makes a contraction with forest outside. The spaces inside varies defined by the thin steel columns and plants according to the people’s different spatial requirement. And Ishigami’s meandering interior landscape creates the ambience of a tree-filled forest rather than a college classroom, which exposes the blending of architecture and nature.
Like the pavilion, the 21,410-square-fxoot workshop is modest in scale. It is an elegant rectangular box with with floor-to-ceiling glass, enclosing an interesting interior space with 305 columns of various sizes supporting the stripped roof of skylights.According to the introduction by Naomi R. Pollock, “Coated with white paint, each column is actually a slice of steel plate. Cut in various widths from slabs of three different thicknesses, each was tailored to the architect’s exacting specifications. This unusual fabrication technique accommodated every permutation from the thinnest tension member, measuring 0.63-by-6 inches (16-by-145 mm), to the thickest compression member, measuring 3-by-4 inches (63-by-90 mm). ”
The columns’ randomness becomes a functional organizational tool to define a small space for aranging a single desk, or a large space where rows of desks and any other furniture can be placed, which make it possible for many students to be designing in one space, yet the building provides ample opportunities for students to collaborate.
Challenges and Opportunities
According to the introduction by Naomi R. Pollock, “The structure system consists of a conventional two-way roof frame, 42 compression columns for vertical loads, and 263 post-tensioned columns that carry horizontal loads like mini sheer walls. Though both types of columns are anchored with simple concrete footings, the compression and tension members connect to the roof frame with welded and pin joints, respectively. Because many of the supports do not align with the roof’s 5-by-3-foot girder grid, Konishi who is major structure engineer cooperated with Ishigami inserted extra beams to bridge the gaps. 3”The roof made of steel deck with wire-reinforced-glass inserts is as light as possible to against earthquakes and other natural forces.
In addition, running HVAC system in this building with thin glass enclosure, it is hard to keep the space warm or cool enough would be difficult, which also make the energy waste.
Sourced from: http://www.designboom.com/architecture/junya-ishigami-kait/