场地与设计任务 | The Site and the Client’s Brief
The 115.8 m2 site sits along a busy industrial street, and the program was to rebuild the existing steel structured warehouse / office building. Being adjacent to a wide street, the advantages of this site were accessibility with an ease of loading and unloading, quantity and size wise, the merchandize they deal in and the site also being a corner site, the building would stand out from the surroundings. On the other hand, the disadvantages were the continuous noise during the day, together with the tremors caused by heavy traffic and also the extremely week ground strength.
The clients’ company is a moderate size retailer handling a vast range of nuts and bolts together with other architectural materials. They requested the new headquarters to have the function of a warehouse, showroom and an office; and to be an interesting, eye-catching piece of architecture. However, the budget was extremely limited, at about 60% (about 240-250K yen per square meter) of an average concrete building. Through analyzing the clients’ requests thoroughly and with the minimum possible cost and the image of the final structure in mind, I began studying the possibilities together with my fellow structural engineer and contractor.
▼由混凝土材料构成的有力、简单却又复杂的体量，a powerful, simple yet complex form built with concrete
合作的成果 | Creation through Collaboration
In order to lower the building-cost I considered using wood structure and steel structure in hope of making the building lighter to correspond to the weak ground conditions. But after some studies, I found out that these options, although lighter, did not make much of a difference cost-wise. All things considered, the final decision was made to go with concrete for its fireproof and soundproof benefits. I was very confident that this project was feasible despite the limited budget because I was able to work with my collaborators right from the very first stages. I have worked with structural engineer Jun Sato for 15 years, and the contractor Shigeki Matsuoka, head of Homebuilder Co., Ltd., has been my collaborator for 25 years, building more than 80 projects together. I also knew most of the members working on site for a long period of time. As soon as we decided to go with concrete, Mr. Matsuoka and I created a detailed list of more than 20 categories and allocated the total cost among them in order to decide on the appropriate materials and architectural details, which is a unique approach and quite the opposite process from normal procedures of design and estimation of cost.
在必然性的基础上探寻建筑的活力|In Pursuit of the Inevitable or What Was Meant to Be and Dynamism In Architecture
Unkei and Kaikei, two famous Japanese sculptors of Buddha statues who were active in the late 12th to the early 13th centuries, are quoted to have said that they do not create the shapes themselves but rather ‘excavate’ the shapes embedded in the pieces of wood. Our design process followed a similar path in nature to that of the two master sculptors. Aspiring to achieve a powerful, simple yet complex form like bolts, products that gave the company its name “Boltun Co., Ltd.,” (BOLT and NUT spelled backwards) I made numerous study models in search of the right form. My goal became to create 3-dimensionally connected spaces with “nuke (noo-kay)*” using continuous walls like a one-stroke drawing existing in one piece of architecture.
▼首层空间，the first floor
▼嵌入式的家具均使用柳桉胶合板制成，Lauan plywood was used in the built-in furniture
Also, in order to reduce the building weight to 60 percent of a regular structure of this sort, I shaved off as much concrete as possible from the box-frame structure. The result that emerged before my eyes was a unique structure resembling the mesh-like skin of a cantaloupe. It was something I had never seen before, serene and refined as if I had carved out the Buddha in the structure. The openings were glazed, galvanized steel stairs were installed, and minimalistic suspended handrails were designed with the utmost care not to diminish the power and serenity of the structure. I also designed some built-in furniture using only Lauan plywood, a material mainly used as underlayment and backer boards.
▼二层空间，the second floor
▼建筑的开口均装有玻璃表面，the openings were glazed
▼极简的悬浮式扶手避免了对混凝土结构的完整性造成干扰，the minimalistic suspended handrails were designed with the utmost care not to diminish the power and serenity of the structure
▼二层与三层的空间关系，the spatial relationship between the second and third floor
▼三层办公空间，office area on the third floor
When the client, the contractor and I checked the completed architecture together, someone made a comment to which I totally agreed, that the dynamism and freshness this new headquarters exudes truly matches the corporate image of Boltun Co., Ltd.
▼纵向交通空间，the vertical experience of circulation
▼天窗和玻璃开口带来丰富的光影，the skylights and glazed openings brings the light in
▼形态各异的户外平台，outdoor terrace with unique shapes
▼平面、立面和剖面图，plans, elevations and sections
Text: Yasuhiro Yamashita / architect
completion date: June 2018
location: Saitama, Japan
building use: Office
site area: 115.81sqm (1246.56sqf)
building area: 78.75sqm (847.65sqf)
total floor area: 155.79sqm (1676.90sqf)
structure: Reinforced concrete
number of floors: 3
architectural design: Yasuhiro Yamashita, Kenji Mizukami, Fumi Otosaka / Atelier Tekuto
structural engineering: Jun Sato, Shingi Tarirah / Jun Sato Structural Engineers
construction management: Shigeki Matsuoka, Shinichi Uchimura, Koji Izawa / Home Builder
photograph: Toshihiro Sobajima