NITOBE MEMORIAL HALL
Location - Sapporo, Japan
2015 Boston Soceity of Architects Student Design Showcase
The Nitobe Memorial Hall project is based upon the requirements of a recent international competition. The project aims to create a space of celebration and contemplation in honor of the school established on this site in the early 20th century. The area is currently vacant and represents one of the few open green spaces left in Sapporo, Japan. The competition not only represents building design, but also landscape integration, creating a new urban typology inside of a rigid, grid like existing one. The memorial hall initially began as a snow hut, creating a site which responds to the 250 inches of snow the city receives each year. Through site analysis and conceptual testing, a new landscape typology was created to foster creative and imaginative spaces based on the winter climate. Many of the design decisions and aesthetics were carried into the final memorial hall design, creating rich, imaginative and open spaces for the public to inhabit.
The site is divided up into two zones, the open green zone and the building zone. The site is designed horizontally, from east to west to create a visual and physical connection between the two major roads. The site is also divided by reflecting pools, which act as water filtration areas for both the site’s and surrounding cities surface runoff. The structure acknowledges the surrounding urban context through its massing, with the east facade being a solid mass, positioned in line with the building behind it. The building then dematerializes as it moves across the site, with a band of light wood holding the horizontality of the design, breaking from the vertical typology of the city. The original competition specified specific spaces within 3,800 square feet. The building contains an events space, exhibition space, library, archival storage and three modest classrooms. All of these spaces are stacked on each other, tied together through the central glass atrium, piercing through the site merging withthe reflecting pools.