Kengo Kuma and Associates completed Iiyama Cultural Hall Nachura in Japan. The town of Iiyama is located in Nagano prefecture, whose Japan Railway station lies on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line, which started its service in 2015.
The project is a cultural complex of two halls and a community center, and we connected the spaces with an interiorized passage which we call Nakamichi.
The interiorized passage 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 roof of Nakamichi is supported by mixed structure of local wood and steel.
The entire space is made of such elements as locally produced timber, soft and moist floor like natural earth, washi paper made by local craftsmen, and creates an atmosphere that could not be felt in a typical publicly-funded facility often described as a closed box.
The whole building is shaped like a hill and covered with a façade of COR-TEN and Japanese larch, morphing into the green rise at the back, making a contrast with the trains running nearby.
We got a hint from roofed arcades called “Gangi,” which can be found in snowy regions in Japan. Its intimate space formed by a wooden frame and “doma (earth floor)” was revived here as a modern version of Gangi.
Article by Marco Rinaldi