Goko-machi Project
Goko-machi is the name of a street in the downtown of Kyoto. Now in Kyoto the argument about the conserving of the traditional scenery made of old houses along streets are getting heated. Kyoto is the most famous city which escaped from aerial bombings of the last war, and traditional houses especially called “Machi-ya`. (“Machi` means town and “ya` means house.) So Kyoto-city is enforcing the regulations on the new architectures which will be built along those streets to harmonize them with Machi-ya. But on the other hand, that kind of enforcement is accused of the reason why the regulations are made from fixed ideas about “Machiya` by many architect and owners. For example, some regulations forces us to make the eaves and roofs on the facades of new buildings even if which is made of wood, steel or reinforced concrete. It sometimes causes the kitsch facades which never fit to Kyoto’s gracious atmosphere. Someone says architects should design totally the buildings to harmonize the scenery even if they are modern architecture or not. I agree so. These new regulations have the risks of making cheap and boring standardized facades without considerations. I’m wondering that the enchantment of Kyoto is getting loss against the will of conserving. One of the aims of this project is to create the modern architecture which respects traditional Machi-ya’s sceneries, but which should be very new interpretation with aesthetic, sociological and technical considerations. This is the complex building located in the downtown of Kyoto consist of boutiques (1st~2nd floors) and the rental housing (3rd~6thfloors). Many traditional houses, temples and shops still exist in the surround of this complex. On the other hand, cafes and boutiques stand too. Here is a town where we can see traditional and modern faces on the street by good relations only in Kyoto. It is the enchantment of the Kyoto that there are many innovative affairs in the old town. Actually Kyoto people love very new things, so the contrast between the old and the new is very attractive. In severe limitation, I wanted to reproduce the graceful atmosphere of the downtown of Kyoto in this project. At first I established the half outside space named a concourse such as “Tohri-niwa` (the earthen thoroughfare in “Machi-ya") in form to go through a site lengthwise on the plan. It divides the ground levels façade to 3 parts consist of 2 boutiques faces and the void of the concourse. Each width is about 6 meters which is ordinal width of traditional “Machi-ya`. It is the scale on which people feel comfortable to walk along the streets and the rows of “Machi-ya` are formed. The concourse functions as common use space like an alley between the boutiques, and as an approach to the housing. Also I used the some new material on the façade to reproduce a face of “Machi-ya` in modern form like the see-through art object. The concourse is the microcosm feeling nature like pocket park cut out of the town. A symbolic tree is enshrined in a void which square frame cuts the sky when you look up, and a pictorial sequence make people conscious of “artificial` nature. It is an aim to reproduce a keen-edged space where people feel the nature’s mystery and precious. The floor of the concourse is made of hard-wood mostly, some pieces of brilliant glass plates which describe small water pools and granite plates. They make a random pattern on the floor. The Kyoto-city forces some things on the façade of any new building in this area as follows. ?Set up eaves facing the street ?Make a facade along Japanese-style image ?A wall surface above the 4th floor level should be set-back from the lower facade facing the street. ?Any roof facing the street should pitch down toward the street ?Color control to harmonize with the scenery There are so many traditional architectures around the site, but also there are new buildings which have been built after the last war and before the enforcement of conserving regulation. The rows of the old houses are destroyed around this site by some recent buildings not along with the guidance for conservation. So I thought it takes long time to recreate the sceneries of the rows of “Machi-ya` and I should create the architecture which insist the modern “Machi-ya` face independently from neighboring environment. The façade is divided 4 levels. The first level means a niche below the eaves where the object made of COR-TEN steel forms such as the real eaves. They are regarded as the art object composed of lattices, and the glass medallions made from the mold of the real roof tile are fitted in an edge of the eaves as the metaphor ironically. The horizontal line is important to emphasize Japanese-style image. I adopted the belts of lattices in the façade of the 2nd and 3rd floors facing the street. The 2nd floors are composed of the movable wooden lattice behind the fireproof glass screen as the façade of the boutique, on the other hand the 3rd floors are consist of the aluminum corner-pipes which preserve the privacy of the residences. These two belts contrastive each other and feel like sharpen modern design even if it depends on the idea of Japanese traditional images. The 4th floor is the black-out volume made of COR-TEN steel skins set-backed from the street. It is controlled like the sculpture which has the pitched roof and looked down from the higher behind it. The 3rd and 4th floors volume facing the street forms two maisonettes. I designed this building as the sea-thorough art screen and sculpture, it expresses the very new “Machi-ya` and which should lead the whole architectural design in the downtown of Kyoto. I hope this project will influence to the conservation guidance about this city and the attraction is getting greater in the future.


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