Japan 2017Tomioka City Hall
The new Tomioka City Hall is scaled to the human experience, and well suited to both the city and the Tomioka Silk Screening Mill, a World Heritage Site which conveys the passion of the Japanese people from the Meiji era.
Instead of locating the city hall in one large volume we distributed the rooms under a gathering of small roofs so that people can pass in between. Taking advantage of the location, the programs are arranged so that visitors can walk through the site as they travel between Tomioka Station and the Tomioka Silk Mill, thus the building like a public street.
The sloped roofs have deep eaves, yielding a softness and dynamism to the streets below while also providing shelter from the sun and rains. Where the roofs meet each other, large clerestory windows allow for air movement and shading, taking a hint from the koshiyane, a type of roof-lantern which is common to silk production in the region.
For the facade, we applied hybrid louvers, using wood on one surface and aluminum on the other. Walking through the meandering streets one perceives the rhythmic texture of the buildings.