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Published: Thursday, July 12, 2007

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Chokkura Plaza

In his signature style, architect Kengo Kuma celebrates material in this innovative design for an exhibition and assembly space in Tochigi, Japan.

By: Kengo Kuma & Associates

Architecture-Page | Chokkura Plaza by Kengo Kuma & Associates
The design was largely inspired by the characteristics of its predominant material -- the Ooya stone.

Project Details

  • Project Name: Chokkura Plaza
  • Client: The City of Shioya-gun, Tochigi
  • Project Type: Architectural Design
  • Principal Designer: Kengo Kuma
  • Design Team: Kengo Kuma & Associates
  • Year of commencement of project: March 2004
  • Year of completion of project: March 2006
  • Location of site: Takanezawa, Shioya-gun, Tochigi, Japan
  • Structural engineering: Oak Structural Design Office
  • Facilities Engineering: P.T.Morimura & Associates
  • Construction: Watanabe general construction / Kenmoku Stone Architect Co. Ltd.
  • Site area: 2,968.47 square meters
  • Built-up area: 669.85 square meters
  • Total floor area: 546.46 square meters
  • Maximum Height: 8.18 meters
  • Use: Assembly Hall, Exhibition Space

Architecture-Page | Chokkura Plaza by Kengo Kuma & Associates
The Ooya stone is stacked in pairs and woven into a basket like surface.

The Building

The Chokkura Plaza community hall is located near the Hoshakuji station. The Plaza provides for an assembly hall and exhibition gallery in a site already containing an abandoned rice storage house constructed in Ooya stone.

A round-about is located at the west end of the site and its east exit is closed.

Architecture-Page | Chokkura Plaza by Kengo Kuma & Associates
Exterior view of the Plaza.

The design attempts to create a sound building representing the image of the town through a careful use of material.

Architecture-Page | Chokkura Plaza by Kengo Kuma & Associates
View of the interiors of the community center.

The design was largely inspired by the inherent characteristics of the Ooya stone, namely its 'soil' and 'porosity'.

Unlike other stones, the Ooya stone is soft to touch with its softest portion- the 'miso'- formed of soil trapped within it.

It also has holes similar to a sponge with the 'miso' being the largest of these. Owing to these openings, the stone surface is rather broken up in its texture.

Architecture-Page | Chokkura Plaza by Kengo Kuma & Associates
Steel plates form the broad skeleton of the structure and the stone surfaces are woven between them.

The architect responds to the materiality of the Ooya stone through a design that traces the evolution on site -- from the existing block of the storehouse to the newer highly porous interventions.

A soft and warm ambience that invites the user is induced in the space through the extensive use of this stone.

Architecture-Page | Chokkura Plaza by Kengo Kuma & Associates
Exterior view of the community center with the older storehouse in the background.

A diagonal construction system is employed wherein the Ooya stone is stacked in pairs and woven together like a basket. Steel plates are used to create the broad skeleton of the building.

The stone here emerges not as a mere cladding material but as an element integral to the structure itself.

Architecture-Page | Chokkura Plaza by Kengo Kuma & Associates
View of the interiors exhibiting the transition from the older structure to the newer, more porous interventions.

Owing to varied site conditions and the properties of the stone the woven fabric continues to modulate.

Credits

  • Text: Courtesy of the architect
  • Photographs by Daici Ano, Courtesy of the architect
  • Compiled and edited by Varun Ajani

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