Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Plant Shrine

2012 -


A 1:200 scale model of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant Shrine is exhibited on the eighth floor. In this proposed project, the plant is treated as a shrine or mausoleum, with the structures housing the reactors covered with Japanese-style roofs that serve as icons. Nobody commissioned me to come up with this proposal, but immediately following the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident, the idea seemed to offer a measure of hope and solace. In any event, it was of great comfort to me personally. 
The objective of the project was to turn the plant into an aquatic tomb, where highly radioactive waste such as melted fuel would be safely maintained for over 10,000 years into the future. This is because it is impossible both to recover all of the nearly 200 tons of melted fuel, and to transport off-site all of the highly radioactive waste generated during decommissioning of the reactor. When facing these obstacles (in other words, after giving up on the hopeless task of decommissioning the reactor), the most important thing is to remain vigilant to the persistent danger. It is necessary to erect a symbol for people 10,000 or more years in the future, when culture and language will have changed and the inhabitants of these islands may not even be “Japanese” as we understand the word.
Conveying the fact that dangerous things are dangerous is one important role of architecture. In this sense, the structures housing the reactors do not qualify as architecture. To make them function as architecture, I propose giant roofs in the traditional Japanese shrine style. Irimoya-style gabled roofs would cover the No. 2 to No. 4 buildings, while a hogyo-style hipped roof would cover the No. 1 building containing a reactor one size smaller than the others. The dimensions of each large roof on the No. 2 to No. 4 buildings would be 82m wide x 75m deep, with a height of 88m. Each of the roofs would rival that of the gargantuan Daibutsu-den at Todai-ji Temple in Nara. 
I placed the same large roof atop a 1:200 scale model of the Arts Center, creating the Fukushima Dai-ichi Sakae Nuclear Plant Shrine, in order to physically communicate the true scale of the power plant to viewers. Incidentally, I should mention that it was experimenting with placing the large Nuclear Power Plant Shrine roof on top of the Arts Center building that inspired me to make the Fukushima Dai-ichi Sakae Nuclear Plant, rather than the other way around. Thus, the large roof acted as an architectural scale ruler for the process of transferring the reactor building to this venue.


location Aichi Triennale 2013 / Aichi Arts Center (Nagoya City, Aichi Pref.)
principal use installation
completion date/exhibition date 2012 / 2013
Materials / techniques Foamed polystyrene core board, formed polystyrene sheet, styrofoam, Japanese cypress, balsa wood, cork, plastic bar, sliced veneer