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See Tow Jo Wee

The refurbished Ex-Gifu Prefectural Office aims to function as a City Home, a building for the community which focuses on the wellness of citizens of Gifu city through the provision of a series of community and private spaces.

Before and After | Urban and Programmatic scale of building

The old office building is situated right next to the new city hall building and the Gifu Media Cosmos. The location of the building and its surroundings made it suitable to be integrated with the two neighboring buildings, complementing their roles in improving the lives of people in the community.

On a larger, more urban scale, most of the buildings dedicated to serving the community in the vicinity were community centers, with some children’s cafeterias and spaces dedicated to educating and helping specific groups of people (e.g. the elderly and women). Thus, the proposed refurbishment for the office aimed to complement such efforts already in place to support the community, especially groups of people who might live alone or are socially isolated considering the position of the building on the edge of the civic (pink) and residential (blue) area of the city as shown above. As well as support organizations dedicated to supporting the community by functioning partially as an office for the Gifu City Education and Culture Promotion Corporation which already runs a few of these community buildings.

East-West Section of City Home

As in the section above, the refurbished building will be split into 2 wings. The east wing is a communal, public space (green) with a community kitchen, community garden and various types of dining spaces where anyone can go during lunch and dinner hours to prepare a meal and eat together. The west wing acts as an extension of the media cosmos, providing private spaces (blue) unavailable in the library so visitors have more options. It has various types of private reading and study areas as well as private counseling rooms which double up as private work rooms.

The intervention in this building strives to be as purposeful as possible, limiting structural changes to the building to only where it is necessary, minimizing permanent changes made to the original building. There is a mixture of rooms with new, more modern interior because of structural reinforcements made to the building through thickening the walls.

Plan | First Floor

On the first floor, there will be office spaces for the Gifu City Education and Culture Promotion Corporation and three tatami rooms leading out to the back garden. There are also come circulatory changes made to the stairs at the main entrance and an opening created in the middle of the building for a direct entrance out to the back garden as well. The East Entrance will mainly be for people coming to the building from the residential area while the West Entrance is mainly for people coming from the Media Cosmos Carpark.

Plan | Second Floor

Plan | Third Floor

Section | Vertical Relationship between Kitchen and Garden

The third floor has private counseling rooms and the community garden, maintained by members of the community, the harvests can be used in the community kitchen for meals, creating vertical relationships between the different rooms as well. The original Old Reception Hall is retained as it originally was allowing visitors to experience a piece of the original interior space.

The roof has skylights carved out to help provide more light to the garden plants in the community garden rooms. The shapes and positions of the skylights are specific to the planters in the gardens.

Apart from the activities in each of these rooms, architecturally, the interior and furnishings in each room aim to create a conversation between old and new. With each room being modernized to varying degrees.

Some rooms like this part of the community garden will have the original interior of the building retained with the building’s ornamental motifs integrated into the planter boxes, making direct references to the original architecture. The placement of the planter boxes are directly aligned to the coffers on the ceilings which are used to create skylights for each individual planter box.

Private Work Room and Counseling Room

Others will have the original interior retained as well but with more modern interpretations and elements such as some of the private counseling and resting rooms where the consultation booth makes use of one of the original mantelpieces in the building to create elements of the form while having other furniture that is more organic or modern in form.

For rooms with newer interior, such as this study area, the new interior is contrasted with furniture that was present in the original building or with forms that resemble them. Elements like the wall arches creating small areas for studying also take inspiration from one of the original mantelpieces in the building.

Lastly, there are also rooms with newer interior that also have more contemporary material and forms. Like the community kitchen cooking area.

Though varying in terms of modernity and function, the congregation of these different spaces work together to bring visitors joy through the exploration of different types of spaces. The delight experienced through walking down the old halls of the Ex-Gifu Prefectural Hall, as if taken back in time but discovering new rooms, inspired by the original architecture in different ways hope to further strengthen the sense of community and provide a safe space for people to support themselves and each other.


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