Nakamata (Maebashi Design Project) by Schemata Architects

The reduction space on the shopping street creates a sense of depth

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Appreciation towards Schemata Architects for providing the following description:

Nakamata日式糖果店位于日本群马县前桥市的Chuo-dori购物街上,由建筑事务所Schemata Architects设计。项目基地是一个两层高的鞋店兼住宅的旧址,在竖直方向上被夹在了拱廊天桥和人行道之间,在水平方向上被夹在了基地两侧的建成建筑之间。原建筑仅有临街立面可见,只有进入室内才能感受到空间的进深。

因此,设计团队将原有的鞋店兼住宅建筑拆除,建立了本项目中这座全新的日式糖果店。项目基地的左侧是由建筑师Ryuji Nakamura设计的意大利面餐厅,右侧则是即将落成的由建筑师Fumiko Takahama设计的日式炸猪排餐厅。

We designed a newly opened Japanese confectionary store “Nakamata” along the Chuo-dori shopping street in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture. Originally, a two-story shoe store and residence fully occupied this site. The building, flanked by buildings on both sides and sandwiched between the arcade and pavement at the top and bottom, had only one facade visible to the street and one could perceive the depth of the building only in the interior.

We demolished the existing buildings to build a new store. The building on the left is a pasta restaurant designed by architect Ryuji Nakamura, and a new tonkatsu (Japanese pork cutlet) restaurant designed by architect Fumiko Takahama will be built on the right soon.

▼糖果店外观概览,exterior overview of the confectionary store ©Shinya Kigure

与日本其他城市中的购物街一样,Chuo-dori购物街上的大多数临街店面都已经关门歇业,致使Chuo-dori购物街面临着变成“百叶窗一条街”的危险。即使是在白天,这里也人流稀少,目之所及之处尽是荒凉。为了防止购物街进一步衰败,在出生于前桥市的企业家Jin Tanaka的推动下,一个名为“前桥市机械工业协会(Maebashi Machinaka Agency)”的组织正式成立。该组织旨在将前桥市民与物联网联系起来,从而推动商业活动的发展,本项目便是其中之一。然而实际上,购物街衰败的严重程度超乎了人们的想象,在本项目启动两年后,歇业商店的数量似乎仍在增加。

因为一般的日式糖果店并不需要在店内设置就餐空间,所以与基地面积相比,商店空间的占地面积就显得微不足道了。这就意味着本项目会产生许多额外的空间。于是设计团队就开始构思,如何才能通过“额外的空间体量”来回馈城市。

This shopping street, like other shopping streets in regional cities throughout Japan, was facing the danger of becoming a “shutter street” where most storefronts are closed for business. There are few passers-by even during the day and vacant lots are spotted here and there. Driven by a strong desire to stop the decline of the shopping street, entrepreneur Jin Tanaka, who was born in Maebashi, facilitated the establishment of “Maebashi Machinaka Agency”, an organization promoting networking of people and things in Maebashi, and several projects, including the Nakamata project we worked on, were launched at the same time. However, the “shutter-street” issue is very serious and “shuttered” stores seem to be still increasing two years after the project started.

Because a Japanese confectionary store does not need an eating area for customers, the required floor area of the store was very small in proportion to the site area, which means we have a large excess volume on the site. The key to designing this project would be how to use the “excess volume” in order to give back to the city.

▼糖果店街景,street view of the confectionary store ©Shinya Kigure

考虑到这座城市的未来,设计团队认为一味地回望过去并试图恢复购物街昔日的繁忙景象是不切实际的,电影“永远的三丁目的夕阳(Always: Sunset on Third Street)”的中所展示的日本昭和时期的街景盛况在这个人口减少的时代里也难以再次出现。因此,我们需要为即将到来的新时代提出一个“购物街街景图”的全新构想。为了实现这一目标,设计团队首先自然观察调研了一个客流量较多的郊区购物中心。虽然购物中心的兴起是购物街衰败的主要原因之一,但我们仍能从中提炼出人们对于商业空间的喜好。

实际上,购物中心与互联网世界是相互平行的。在购物中心里,所有的商品都被集中在了一个可达的范围之内,因此顾客可以看到并亲身试用他们心仪的物品,但互联网在库存量、速度和商品类别等方面的优势也不容小觑。此外,随着时代的发展,我们的交通越来越发达,导航系统可以带着人们去往任何他们想去的地方;同时鉴于城市空地逐渐增加,停车也不再是一个令人头疼不已的难题。但是相对地,如今的人们可以也可以随时在互联网页面上修改购物车,增减自己所需商品的数量,这种便利性对“在购物中心可以亲身体验某件商品”这种优势也有着不小的冲击性。综合以上的分析,设计团队在本案中提出了一种全新且独特的商业空间。

▼糖果店由几个分散的体量构成,the confectionary store consists of scattered volumes ©Shinya Kigure

Considering the future of this city, it is not realistic to look back to the past and try to restore a lively and bustling atmosphere on this shopping street–– like the streetscapes during the economic miracle in the Showa period of Japan as shown in the movie “Always: Sunset on Third Street”––in our depopulating society. We needed to come up with a new “shopping street-scape” for the coming era. For a start, we went to observe a suburban shopping mall attracting many customers ––one of the major causes of the decline of shopping streets––and speculated what kind of customer discontent might arise there in near future.

A shopping mall is equivalent to the internet world where “expected” things exist in an “easy-to-understand” way. Such a “prescribed” way of shopping at a shopping mall has and an advantage of offering customers opportunities to see and try actual products they want, but the internet shopping is superior in terms of the amount of stocks, speed, and wide range of distribution area. In addition, the automobile society is going through drastic changes. The automobile navigation system can take you anywhere and it is easy to spot a place to park a car due to increasing vacant lots in the city. Today each internet user can re-edit his/her experiences by re-editing information on the interface, which means that the actual experience at a shopping mall may not be so advantageous. I thought that this small building would be able to show a way to welcome people unsatisfied with such “prescribed” experiences and offer unique experiences in the city––even if it may sound too grand for a small store––and we explored the best way as we designed.

▼糖果店的厨房兼售卖空间,the kitchen and selling space of the confectionary store ©Shinya Kigure

▼厨房体量的台阶可作为公共休息空间,the base of the kitchen volume can serve as the public seating area ©Shinya Kigure

在这个城市中,存在着许多与购物街相平行的历史空间层。因此设计团队决定创造一条垂直于这些历史层的通路以增加城市的历史纵深感,同时通过扩大建筑的可见表面来提高顾客对商业空间的期待。换句话说,设计团队决定通过减小建筑体量规模的方法来创造一种空间的深度。这种空间上的减法不仅可以展示出购物街中闲置空间的潜力,更能给那些希望在这里开设小商店的人们带去希望。

▼临街售卖空间,the street front selling space ©Shinya Kigure

▼临街售卖空间细节,details of the street front selling space ©Shinya Kigure

Different historic layers exist parallel to the shopping street, and we created a path extending perpendicular to these layers to add a sense of depth in the city and enhance customers’ expectations by increasing the surface area of the building. In other words, we decided to use the “reduced” building volume to create the spatial depth. Our challenge of designing a “reduction” on this site shows potential of a vacant lot along the shopping street and may give hope to those who are interested in opening small stores here.

▼通透的厨房空间,the transparent kitchen ©Shinya Kigure

根据前桥市机械工业协会所制定的设计规范,商店的外墙使用砖来搭建。本项目的有趣之处在于,设计团队可以一边控制两侧砖石体量的施工速度,一边进行设计。在项目过程中,他们不仅考虑了如何在基地的两侧搭建砖石体量,还研究了砖石体量的堆叠方式:先建造一个较大的体量,再将其分为两个部分,随后开始在这两个体量上做减法,在缩小体积的同时不仅呼应了周边的建筑环境,更突出了砖石体量之间的室外空隙空间。可以说,虽然本项目是要建造一座新商店,但它却“减少”了购物街上的商品。尽管这座建筑是组成购物街视觉序列的一部分,但它在室内外都创造出了一种垂直于街道的空间纵深感。设计团队希望通过在三维空间上对购物街进行扩展,来创造一个能够提高顾客购物期待的地方。

The design code established by Maebashi Machinaka Agency required the use of bricks on the building exterior. The interesting part of this project was that we were able to design while checking the progress of the projects on both sides. We imagined how they would stack bricks on both sides and studied how to stack our bricks in various patterns––making a large stack like them, dividing it in two, and reducing each volume––in relation to the neighboring buildings, while paying attention to enhancing “void” spaces between the brick stacks. This project was about designing a new store, yet we could say it was also about designing “reduction” on the shopping street. While this building comprises part of a visual sequence of the shopping street, it creates spatial depth perpendicular to the street not only in the interior and but also the exterior. We intended to create a place enhancing customers’ expectations by expanding the shopping street three dimensionally.

▼商店被分为数个分散的体量,预留出室外闲置空间,采用砖墙饰面,the confectionary store is divided into several scattered spaces with void space, using bricks on the building exterior facades and floors ©Shinya Kigure

前桥市机械工业协会所制定的设计规范的另一个要求是要在基地上种植树木。因此,设计团队在空隙空间中种植了三棵小树。同时,随着树木的生长,其周边的砖块会不断被移除,以扩大其土壤面积。考虑到这些独特的细节,建筑师并没有使用水泥砂浆来对砖石地面进行填缝,而是在砖石之间预留出深槽,一方面突出砖石的坚固性,另一方面强调光影之间的对比效果。随后,设计团队将这种材料连接方式延续到了竖直的墙体上,使得商店的建筑特色更加明显。

▼在空隙空间的砖石地面上种植小树,planting three small trees in the “void” space covered by bricks ©Shinya Kigure

▼砖墙面上爬有绿植,the vegetation grows along the brick wall ©Shinya Kigure

Another design code requirement is to plant trees on the site. We planted three small trees in the “void” space and designed in such a way that bricks around the trees will be removed along with the growth of each tree and the soil area will gradually increase. Considering such unique details, we did not fill in brick joints with mortar and left them as deep grooves to emphasize the solidity of bricks and highlight the contrast between light and shadow. We used this joint detail not only on the floor but also on vertical stacks to create a distinct brick appearance.

▼糖果店夜景,night view of the confectionary store ©Shinya Kigure

▼平面图,floor plan ©Schemata Architects

▼立面图,elevation ©Schemata Architects

▼剖面图,section ©Schemata Architects

title: Nakamata (Maebashi Design Project)
architect: Jo Nagasaka / Schemata Architects
project team: Takuya Sakamoto
structural engineer: TECTONICA INC.
address: 2-7-21 Chiyoda-machi Maebashi-shi Gunma Japan
usage: Japanese confectionary store
construction: Miyashita Kogyo
collaboration:Maebashi Machinaka Agency (coordinate), HOSHIZAKI TOKYO CO.,LTD (kitchen), SOLSO (plant), neu furniture works (furniture)
floors: 2 stories
site area: 108.32m2
building area: 33.82m2
total floor area: 51.82m2 (1st floor 27.50m2/2nd floor 24.32m2)
structure: steel
completion: 7/2018
open: 8/2018
photo: Shinya Kigure

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