A community facility dedicated to the practice, experience, and study of music
A dense city that thins out as you climb the hill towards the Ikegami Honmonji Buddhist Temple, a striking five-level pagoda built in the early 17th century – this is the setting in which Ryuichi Sasaki Architecture was entrusted with the job of designing a community facility for the practice, experience, and study of music.
“The Ikegami Honmonji Temple is the most important spiritual site of the Nichiren Buddhist sect, with an illustrious history dating back to the 13th century - says Ryuichi Sasaki -. The challenge for us was to design an experiential complex in its shadow that would embrace the spiritual and cultural essence of the community, while also respecting the strictly enforced building codes that typically protect such heritage areas.”
The building houses an auditorium, a performance room, rehearsal rooms, rental units, and a penthouse apartment. It stands out in its setting as a geometric block of extremely smooth exposed concrete, animated by staggered volumes and sloping surfaces that reflect the shape of the site as well as the sloping land down to the Nomi River to the south.
Facing onto a small cemetery, the northern elevation has no openings, its compact appearance giving the building a grandeur and majesty that sparks curiosity in the observer. The composition continues downwards to the west to the foyer entrance at the southwestern corner of the lot. This space is surrounded by angled walls in brass-colored stainless steel and leads on to the two-story music hall and 80-seat auditorium. Directly above these spaces, the penthouse is composed of three slightly staggered volumes forming a fan shape and appears grafted to the main structure. The penthouse opens up to the surrounding landscape, its volumes recalling the mountainous topography of the location, while maximizing sunlight in terms of local building codes regarding heights and distances from the surrounding buildings. The residences occupy the eastern block of the composition. Here, the elevations are more regular and more open, marked to the south by two uniform rows of balconies that overlook an access courtyard, where small trees in geometric flower beds recall the spiritual aspect of the setting.
The interiors are all about fluidity and reconfigurability. The interior staircase is located in a central position, dividing the area dedicated to music from the private residences. This creates a polarity that allows for privacy as well as a spatial continuity between different functions. The residences are arranged in groups on the eastern side of the building. All of them are soundproofed and consist of a kitchen, private bathroom, and sleeping area. The penthouse apartment has sliding walls for reconfiguring the space as needed. The terrace, located above the performance room, creates continuity between the interior and exterior of the building.
“The views from the residential section are intended to inspire emotions conducive to musical creativity - continues Sasaki -. The project contributes to a fusion of the culture and the openness that characterize the city. We’re proud to have created this complex for the residents of Ikegami.”
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Architects: Ryuichi Sasaki /RYUICHI SASAKI ARCHITECTURE
Client: Yasunori Kamata / K-M-T
Collaboration Architect (Producer): Takayuki Yagi / Yagi Komuten
Site Area: 614.14 m2
Building Area: 305.35 m2
Total floor Area: 794.44 m2
Design Team: Ryuichi Sasaki, Gen Sakaguchi, Yuriko Ogura /RYUICHI SASAKI ARCHITECTURE
Structure Engineer: Tatsumi Terado /Tatsumi Terado Structural Studio
Acoustics: Akira Ono/ Nagata Acoustics
Landscape: Takeshi Matsuo /Plat Design
Light Design: Natsuha Kameoka /Lighting Sou
Metal: Tatsunori Horiyama/Shinko Stainless Polishing
Photography by TAKUMI OTA PHOTOGRAPHY, courtesy of Ryuichi Sasaki Architecture