When we were commissioned to work on this project, Utsunomiya Beauty School was in need of renovation because of two reasons; firstly they needed more space to accommodate the increasing number of students, and secondly the building was becoming too old and dysfunctional. We renovated the existing building and attached an annex on the north side. Our design intension was to express a fresh and contemporary image of beauty school.
The existing building was composed of a 30 year-old one-storey reinforced concrete structure on the ground floor and a one-storey steel structure, which was later added above, supported by steel frame wrapping around it.
We decided to remove the decrepit concrete structure and kept the steel-frame structure and footing beams. Then we excavated the ground by half-floor height and inserted two floors (one above ground and the other underground) so the old two-storey building was converted to a new three-storey building without changing the building height. And a new annex, with one underground floor and four floors above ground, is attached on the north side.
The annex is a solid block finished with aluminum spandrel without windows. On the contrary the renovated school is finished with translucent glass curtain wall with aluminum mullions, and classrooms are filled with diffused natural light filtering through exterior skin.
Both ends of the school building are allocated for vertical circulation. Classrooms on the first and second floors are surrounded by wrap-around corridor, and silhouette of students are projected onto the exterior skin. The third floor is divided by central corridor, and two workshops, which are also used as professional beauty salon, are located there.
Classrooms and workshops are enveloped by glass wall and glass sliding doors because we wanted to maintain open view of the entire space. Students are constantly seen by others, no matter where they are or what they do. We believe that it is an ideal environment for educating future beauticians, because they should always be conscious of what people perceive as beauty.