- Project Type: Recreational+Hospitality, Visitor Center
- Designer: Ehime Architecture and Design Office, Itsuki Matsumoto (Aichi Institute of Technology Graduate School)
- Location: Japan, Matsuyama
- Year: 2020
- Size: 48 sqm
- Photo Credits: Shuhei Miyahata [Setouchi Editorial Institute], Hiroaki Zenke
This is a project for which a 23-year old graduate student did the preliminary design and design development. It is a work of collaboration created with local young architects and artisans. Matsuyama in Ehime Prefecture is a city known for Dogo Onsen. The area enjoys a mild climate thanks to the Seto Inland Sea, and with hot springs as a tourist resource, it is ranked as one of the most popular sightseeing destinations in Japan. Since 2014, art events have been held as part of the town revitalization strategy, and this facility was built for the 2019/ 2020 edition of the art project to provide a base for those activities. It is a small-scale, public architecture also used as a community hub.
The project site is located at the end of a gentle slope, facing a historic temple. There are also a number of traditional temples and shrines in the area. While inheriting their essence in a contemporary manner, the project is designed to be site-specific, appropriate as a base for artistic activities. The roof, undulating in harmony with the surrounding natural environment, uses the elegantly curved roof of shrines and temples as a metaphor.
The form of the roof is defined by the context of the site. Its outline follows the edge of the gentle slope, and the open frontage, when looked from down the slope, provides a sequential experience with the temple. When seen from the top of the slope, the conical form mimics the surrounding mountains, completing the landscape as a foreground.
Thus, the curved lines are drawn not only by my intention but also in accordance with the history and the landscape. A line drawn in such a way can be beautiful. What brings them together as architecture is the structural system centered around the main column. The column is decentered on a circular plan with a diameter of 7,800 mm. The climbing beams, which rest on the peripheral columns of different heights, meet at the main column to form the three-dimensional surface of the timber roof floating in the air.
The deviated center generates a mountain-shaped design with deep eaves and maximizes the space for activities as doma (earthen floor)/ gallery while downsizing the semicircular interior space. When seen from inside, the undulating eaves gently frame the surrounding landscape, opening up the space of less than 20 tsubo (approx. 66 sq. m). By creating an open space integrated with the existing environment, the art/ community hub is designed as a place where everyone feels invited.