Kenzo Makino & Associates’ steel roofing factory in Kyoto showcases the company’s diverse products on its eight monitor roofs with various textures. For the relocation and expansion of galvanized steel roofing factory in the harbor of Northern Kyoto, programs such as exhibition space and a factory tour route are incorporated into its production space and a sales office. This new factory’s roofs and walls are made of building materials manufactured or handled by the company, as if it replicated itself on its own. Standing just 500 m away from the coastline, the factory shows its weathering quality over years, like product samples, exposed against salty sea breeze.
Along with economic efficiency under strict budget control of the factory construction, we focused on the building’s meaningfulness, in which client finds unique value and emotional richness beyond function. For that we hided a line of presentation for visitors under its production space, in order to make architecture that is both a factory and an exhibition hall. Here what we pursued is to make the factory readable as an exhibition hall, rather than adding rooms and materials. We conceived it like Rubin’s vase, which is a vase but also is readable as two faces of people, depending on perception for figure and ground: this building is a factory if you see it so, but it can be recognized as an exhibition space when guiding visitors. Or the office building will be a reception desk, a foyer, and a cafe that welcome visitors, the workshop will be a demonstration area, the stockyard will be a permanent exhibition area, and the rooftop maintenance bridge will be an outdoor viewing space.
Eight monitor roofs stand on the main roof and gain indirect light and air from the north side, which interpret sawtooth roof, typical for factory construction in Japan. Unlike sawtooth roof, these roofs are but placed every other span so that they look like a group of buildings standing with certain distance. When they are seen close from the bridge on top of the main roof, you will notice that each monitor roof is cladded in different roofing materials. Here, this rooftop works as an exhibition space where planner can see different products of this factory like mock-ups in a view.
When you stand on the roof, you can literally see the whole life-cycle of the products at a glance: the production process is shown below through the opening of the monitor roof, the finished products are showcased all over the skin of the factory, and the transportation can be looked over the building as a backdrop, where Maizuru West Harbor, which is an international industrial port and the products are shipped all around the world from here, is located just behind the site.