By Anthony Wong Chew Yao
So right from the initial studies on the building, I have found that the Gifu Civic Culture Center is a very big building that stands imposing on the roadside. There is a very nice boulevard of sorts on the South face of the building as well as Kogane Park to its North, but the building stands in the way of this connection between the two pieces of greenery. This is also a concern that has been raised by the city management.
My intervention consists of a more direct approach, by creating a connection from the building to Kogane park by removing the building façade to really introduce porosity from the South side of the building to the North side. By leaning a little on the concept of shakkei (借景), terraces are created on the side of the building facing the park, allowing users to take in the park from the building.
I try to show the effect of transparency within the building in two levels. One is through the building on the ground floor horizontally as can be seen by the low of pedestrians, whereas the other is vertically in the building. I have removed part of the small theatre in the building and instead brought in some greenery to the ground floor as a gesture of the park seeping into the building after opening it up (same type of tree). The new emptiness introduced by this then promotes interaction across the various floors of the building.
What is left of the theatre then also takes on a temporal quality with the introduction of curtains which can be lowered to suit the needs of the programme. The second floor mini theatre adds a kind of forced interaction between those in the theatre and those outside who can see what is going on.
If you look on the left side, the absence of thick lines denoted the absence of walls, showing that people are able to enjoy the park scenery from within the confines of the building. I also introduce activities which take advantage of this fact like painting.
These are the floor plans showing the parts that are demolished in green. As you can see, there are a lot of parts being removed. After deciding the direction I wanted to take with my intervention, my first step was to focus on removing the elements that are obstructing the way between the street and the park.
From that point, I chose to take it a step further and create opportunities within the space with only demolition (minimal addition), and finding opportunities in the spaces leftover.
The intent for the first floor is to be the first connection between the park and the building. The lack of a boundary wall seemingly allows the surroundings to seep into the building (or the reverse), which is why I planted a garden in the middle of the plan to show this happening. The main programme of the floor is to act as a thoroughfare, a space that normally facilitates traffic through the building but can also allow vendors to set up temporary stalls as well.
The COSMOS hall is repurposed into the skate park in a bid to consider the younger generation as well as to inject more activity into the unused space. Skateboarding was chosen also because it is an activity which naturally makes use of the environment, possibly extending the range of activity to the park as well.
The second floor is intended to be more of an interaction space. Located here is the mini theatre as mentioned before which looks down onto the garden below. On the right wing, the removal of the façade introduces an exterior circulation, where there is commercial activity which also serve to support the activities of the next floor (eg. Photography, paints). A picnic space is also introduced here to once again, take advantage of the view. This can also double as a kind of outdoor working space.
The 3rd floor caters more towards crafts that tie in with the nature in the park. There is a pottery workshop, painting workshop and viewing platform which allow users to enjoy the scenery and also take part in these crafts.
There is also an interplay of exterior and interior spaces within the building, denoted by the thicker lines. The creation of exterior spaces within the building creates these moments of transitioning between outside and inside.
On the right wing, the original exhibition space is kept to be a place where the pieces from the workshops can be displayed and also as a place where business meetings can be held.
The last floor retains the walls as it preserves the cultural aspect of the building. The tea ceremony room, tatami mat hall as well as Go room (activity room) facilitate cultural activity whether by enthusiasts or [school] clubs that can come by and rent the spaces. The little courtyard by the tea room also injects that bit of greenery again into the floor.