LocationIiyama, Nagano Prefecture, Japan
Kengu Kuma & Associates has unveiled designs for a small cultural complex comprising of two halls and a community centre located in Iiyama, Japan. According to the architects, "publicly funded cultural centers tend to be alienated from the rest of the town for their typically large volumes." As a result, they designed "the complex to be as open as possible toward the town and the landscape of Iiyama, so that all would exist in harmony."
The three main spaces are scattered across the site as separate, independent buildings, while providing a roofed street called "Nakamichi," or central path, in the gaps. "Nakamichi is open towards many directions and could be a passage to seamlessly connect activities between the town and Iiyama Plaza. The big hall can vary into different forms according to users’ purposes – from a pit-typed auditorium to a terraced seating theater using roll-back seating. The large opening of this hall can also be open as part of Nakamichi."
The town lies on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line, which is scheduled to run from the end of 2014. The addition of this high speed transport link is estimated to have a significant impact on the town's community and economy. Kengo Kuma & Associates argue that, "given this timing, we would like to see the architecture encourage a revival of the streets and gathering places for people, and to connect them firmly to the ground."
The project is expected to be completed in the first half of 2015.