- Chief Architect: Takehiro Ota
- Project Designer: Dai Chiba
- Soundscape Design: Taisuke Kimura
- Plan Execution: Nagahisa Kubota
- City: Nagano
- Country: Japan
A light ceiling that changes in every moment
This project is a reproductive medical center in Nagano, Japan. Adopting the medical philosophy of adjusting the body cycle naturally, the clinic is layered with a light ceiling that is made of wooden trusses and a translucent ceiling layer that changes its appearance every moment according to the provision of natural sunlight. Almost no column is plotted in the internal space, the wooden trusses that span across the building allow free planning. The longest span truss in the center is at a maximum height of 1.7m and gradually decreases according to the length of each span. The plenum space which carries various air volumes becomes a light pool that changes depending on the time of day, weather, and season of the year. The translucent ceiling layer promotes diffusion and reflection of light.
Shape and Axis
The Mibu River flows to the south of the site, and the Southern Alps mountain range is far to the southeast. The shape of the site is similar to a parallelogram, and the building is laid along to it. Structurally, it is more efficient to set the axis of the gantry trusses to the short side of the diagonal shape and direct the view of the spaces to the southeast. The elongated shape wall changes its visible area depending on the line of sight, creating both openness and closure at the same time.
A relaxing waiting area is placed at the wide obtuse-angled space facing the southeastern view while the medical program rooms which required more enclosed closure are located on the northwest. Since the office space is the core of the clinic operation, it is located in the center of the building for efficient and simpler movement to each room. By distorting the building according to the shape of the site, it creates spaces at the required size internally and secures the number of parking spaces required outdoor.
Wooden Architecture that considered the supply chain in the long term
80% of the city where the site is located is covered by forest. It is not only important to use the local timber but, we also considered how the structure parts can be assembled by local craftsmen. To achieve that, we designed a simple structural form that is possible to be made by standard lumber that is available on the local market and avoids using special processed laminated lumber where possible. The wooden trusses of this building are simply made by splitting the 90mm width lumber into half and sandwiching them together with 90mm wood posts. Then, fastened by minimal bolts and jointed with drift pins. Wood shock has hit Japan since COVID-19, wooden architecture shall consider its supply chain in the long term.