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TO THEORIZE ARCHITECTURE BASED ON ANALYSIS OF SELF & ARCHITECTURE
Takaharu Tezuka was born in year 1964 in the city of Tokyo, Japan. He received his Bachelors from the Musashi Institute of Technology in Japan and Masters in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in the United States of America. He then worked for Richard Rogers Partnership Ltd from year 1990 to 1994 in London. Together with his wife, they established Tezuka Architects in year 1994 and have won numerous awards for their wide range of work from the Japan Institute of Architects Prize and the AIJ Annual Architectural Commendations for Roof House and Kids Design Award, the Ministry Prize Gold Prize for Fuji Kindergarten in 2007. His career then started blooming with other projects ranging from houses, commercial and educational buildings, community projects and even world renowned museums and exhibitions.
Designed and built in year 2012 to facilitate play and child development based around Montessori principles, Yamamotochou Fuji Kindergarten is an extravagant pre-primary school in Tokyo, Japan. The most captivating element is indeed its prominent halo-shaped form which accommodates about 600 children. This design maximises and utilises the entire the tight urban site by consciously including the sense of play, with a roof deck surrounding the entire single-storey structure with a large enclosed central courtyard. “While we are busy working, also we are also inspired by our children. We found out children loves making circles. It is a kind of natural instinct, so we were inspired to make the building round so they can keep running around”. With its circular orientation, the courtyard becomes a central point to meet for the kindergarteners, accomplishing a designed system of togetherness. Tezuka also designed the kindergarten by incorporating existing trees protruding from the buiding, which provides a sense of welcoming of nature but also acts a green canopy. Their idea of
The Fuji Kindergarten architectural analysis was based on 3 theories, which is climatic factors, architectural theory and design strategies. As for design strategies, the details are very clean and precise, all the things of what high-end architecture is about. There is a sense of scale to the handrails, door handles, floor, ceiling height and water fountains which are so well considered for the scale of the users. To accommodate different group sizes and different activities, all the furniture can easily be moved and rearranged. As for the chairs and desks for the kids, many wooden boxes are used to separate smaller areas which also act as additional benches for seating. These boxes are also used to store play items, learning materials and children’s coats and shoes. This provides great flexibility, and the interior space is frequently reconfigured through the year. Also, the railings designed according to children scale. Railings are placed at each edge of the roof to keep children safe. The spaces between the balustrades are also sufficient enough to allow children to sit on the roof and swing their legs over the eaves of the roof during assemblies or occasions. As for the skylights, it allows children to look down into the rooms below. Individual skylights are designed in each classroom to allow the natural sunlight to seep in. Children could also climb up rope ladders leading up to the skylight. The three trees embedded in the building also form a play feature. Children can clamber in the branches or play in the nets that are placed around the trunks to prevent anybody falling through to the rooms below. In keeping with the school’s educational ethos of non-directed play and discovery, there is no fixed play equipment on the roof or in the courtyard, with the exception of a slide linking the roof to the ground. Takaharu believes that this will foster respect for nature, so that children could play around it and eliminate psychological barriers between in and out. Last but not least is the detailing of ceiling height and the use of traditional light bulbs. With the consideration of the scale of a child, the ceiling heights are set to 2.1m which stresses an utterly close the ground level to the rooftop. Takaharu Tezuka also had the idea of using traditional naked light bulbs with strings attached in this building to educate the kids about the way light is produced when they pull on and off.
The Fuji Kindergarten architectural theory was based on 5 Le Corbusier’s 5 points of Architecture which is, the free design ground floor plan, roof garden, pilotis, free design façade and horizontal windows. Based on the free design ground floor plan, the school is designed to encourage children to mingle and meander around the space which promotes self-discovery and to explore without interference. It also encourages social skills and eliminates hierarchical structures kindergarteners to mingle and maneuver around at will. Also, no fixed walls are placed between classrooms, so the children can move in between class freely. As for the roof deck, it is an innovative play resource. It has a slight slope towards the inner circumference, which at a height of only 2.1m allows staff at ground level to keep an eye on children playing up above. With specific edge of a start to an end, children would naturally run about the roof without hesitation. This also boosts the activeness and health of the children.Based on pilotis, the columns are not only designed to support the structure but to eliminate supporting walls that would affect the physical and visual connection within the kindergarten. The Fuji Kindergarten free design of façade separated from the exterior of the building from its structural function. Stilts and thin visible floor slabs sites perfectly into the existing site. This also encourages children to play around and explore the structure of building. Lastly, horizontal windows run along the entire kindergarten to allow rooms to be lit equally.
During most of the year, the large sliding screens that form the inner wall of the building are pushed back, opening up the interior spaces to the sheltered courtyard in the center of the school. This provides unobstructed views throughout the kindergarten. It ensures that the rooms are always well ventilated and, as a consequence, there is no need for an air conditioning system. Other systems have been carefully designed to work in the open interior space. During winter, the sliding screens remain closed and rooms are kept warm by using underfloor heating system. Lighting can be adjusted using ceiling-mounted pull chords, allowing teachers and children to control the level of lighting in their part of the building. As Japan has a long history of having frequent earthquakes. The columns are placed slightly further apart and specifically designed for earthquakes. Also, the building is also surrounded by big trees which shade the roof during hotter period like summer.
Throughout his career, “Takaharu Tezuka holds a profound belief in the concept of design with a surgical knife rather than a hacksaw, and the importance of creating functional homes uniquely catered to the residents living within.” (2014, Levin) As a conclusion for his architecture believes, Takaharu Tezuka summarized that “Our minimalism is not a style but a consequence. We try to make a project where we ourselves want to live or stay. We believe the answer can be found in our lifestyle. We are trying to have a normal happy life, and the life of human being is always the ultimate purpose of architecture”.
Architecture is a like a language with vocabulary that carries messages and communicates meanings. By using this architectural language, based on my theory of self,I think Takaharu tezuka has only one idea, which is to emphasize on human activity and connectivity. He is very imaginative and demanding when designing architectural details. Architecture imagination is firmly rooted into Takaharu’s key understanding of structure, materials and economics. There’s a touch of material elegance in the architectural forms and precision of the structural solutions. These personal touches are emerged from understanding their client’s lifestyle and aspirations. However, there is no doubt that beyond these aspects, Tezuka is even more interested in abstract and allusive qualities of architecture like space and light. His work is also remarkable for its mutability, its ability to take on different appearances depending on the season, time of day and the activity of the occupants. The architecture responds to these conditions freely, mostly by varying the degree of closure or openness in aiming to boost the quality of architectural mutability. Tezuka’s work seems like it is tied into a long tradition of Japanese Vernacular architecture well known for sliding doors, screens and removable elements. These are precisely the elements that most intrigued the early modernist who visited from the west to Japan, such as frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Gropious. Through the influences of those architects, the notion of flexible spatial boundaries entered the architectural imagination of global modernism. Tezuka designs a client’s house which includes elements of sunlight, wind and humidity that has an undeniable tangible freshness. These are homes suited to citizens of the 21st century which combines and embraces nature into simple living.
- Designing for education. 2011. p48 Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/edu/innovation- education/centreforeffectivelearningenvironmentscele/48533289.pdf on 22 June 2014
- Design and Trend. 2013. Retrieved from http://www.designntrend.com/articles/3813/20130412/worlds-best-classroom-japan-fuji-kindergarten-wraps-around-100-year.htm on 22 June 2014
- Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities. 2011. Retrieved from http://edfacilitiesinvestment-db.org/facilities/9 on 22 June 2014