Formerly known as the Nippon Convention Center, the Makuhari Messe (derived from the German word meaning “trade fair”) is the second largest convention center in Japan behind only Tokyo Big Sight. Makuhari Messe was designed by famous Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki and was completed in 1989 with the intention of establishing the area of Makuhari as an architectural destination separate from Tokyo proper.
Sited in the northwest corner of the Chiba prefecture in eastern Tokyo, the Messe’s expansive interiors and multitude of exhibition halls lends itself to high-capacity events, including a plethora of recent high-tech expositions and trade shows. The 4-level complex exceeds 1,000,000sf of floor area and is comprised of eleven exhibition halls, a conference hall, and an event hall capable of holding over 9,000 visitors. The engineered steel trusses of the event hall span more than 1,800 linear feet.
The entirety of the Makuhari Messe is comprised of precast concrete and a structural steel frame, evidenced by the interior photographs shown in the gallery below; however, each program space was developed to function independently and in a distinct style, creative a dynamism and flexibility that allows the Messe to meet the fluid demands of the exhibition industry. With a structure of such massive scale, a variety of architectural techniques were used to make the interior spaces more comfortable (most importantly, architectural detailing). The sheer volume of the Messe would classify the convention center as a megastructure, but the careful use of architectural detailing reduces the scale of the overall volume through the use of delicate detailing at the human scale. These details, in coordination with the large-scale detailing of the project as a whole, produce a more appropriate scale at ground level.
Maki’s body of built and unbuilt work have contributed to his position as one of the leaders of the architectural profession. Maki has been the recipient of multiple national and international awards, most notably the Japanese Institute of Architects’ Award (1985), the American Institute of Architects’ Reynolds Award (1987), and the Pritzker Prize in 1993.
Architect: Fumihiko Maki
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Project Year: 1989
References: Fumihiko Maki
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons - Jesper Rautell Balle Flickr - Brandon Shigeta, soundingblue, Chi (back in Oz), Danny Choo