The proposed new KOKUEIKAN is a work of environmental architecture that acts on Naha, Okinawa’s Kokusai-dori St. like a cooling spray of water. Large voids cut out of the wall transcend the rigid demarcation of road/property boundary lines, drawing parts of the sidewalk into the KOKUEIKAN premises and heightening the active atmosphere of Kokusai-dori St.
The rippling wall with folds like a gathered curtain, which I call a “gathered wall,” serves a cooling function for Kokusai-dori St. both physically and psychologically. Chilled with groundwater, the gathered wall employs “radiant cooling” to cool the air not only in the voids but out on the street, and banyan trees planted on the roof form a natural canopy that provides shade. The overall atmosphere of the KOKUEIKAN is reminiscent of the inside of a hollow tree.
A long, drawn-out façade enables all the shops in the facility to face on to the pedestrian walkways, with the apertures created by slicing off parts of the gathered wall serving as entrances, or gaps through which shops can “show their faces.”
To maximize the efficiency of the radiant cooling, the gathered wall is made of 12- to 22-mm-thick steel plate, sinuously folded like the roots of a banyan tree, and the overall project can be seen as organic, vegetative architecture, both as an analogy for its form and as a metaphor for its function. The undulating creases in the steel plate play a structural role as well, enabling the commercial space to have freestanding walls with no columns required.
|location||Naha City, Okinawa|
|principal use||Commercial facilities|
|total floor area||6,365m2|
|structure||steel plates and reinforced concrete
1 basement and 5 stories