MICHI-NO-EKI HOTA SHOGGAKO

MICHI-NO-EKI HOTA SHOGGAKO

30. May 2016

Michi-no-Eki Hota Shoggako

2015
Chiba, Japan

Architects
N.A.S.A architects JV

Project Team
architectureWORKSHOP
  >>japan-architects
SPATIAL DESIGN STUDIO
ADH Architects
NASCA

Structural Engineer
Structual Design Office OAK / EJIRI STRUCTURAL ENGENEERS

Contractor
TOKAI KENSETU

MEP/FP Engineer
Setubikeikaku.co.ltd

Planting Adviser
ash-garden

Environmental Adviser
MAGORI LAB

Site Area
14235.50㎡

Building Area
2660.14㎡

Total Floor Area
3486.73㎡

Photo
Satoshi Asakawa

As an elementary school was closing with a 126 year-history since its establishment, proposals for utilizing it as a regional urban interaction facility were collected, and a proposal by a joint venture composed of four design offices was selected among them. The purpose was to revive it as a completely new facility that would contribute to revitalization of the community by attracting many tourists from outside the region while keeping traces of the elementary school with a long history and memories of the alumni. 

Distant view

Please give us an overview of the project.

A joint venture of design offices led by Satoko Shinohara, Makoto Watanabe + Yoko Kinoshita, Koh Kitayama, and Nobuaki Furuya (N.A.S.A.architects JV) made a proposal for the renovation of the closed elementary school in Kyonan Town of Chiba Prefecture located in Minami Boso.
The functions required in the proposal were Michi-no-Eki (roadside rest area), farm-fresh market, space for tenants, and keeping the existing gymnasium as a shelter for the time of emergency. Our proposal was to transform the gymnasium that was located at the center of the Kyonan-hota Interchange and that therefore had a high impact to a farm-fresh market and also to regenerate the second-floor classrooms of the existing school building to a place for dual residency or simple accommodations for visitors from cities coming for weekend farming. In addition, the veranda parts in front were connected to create “porch of the town,” which is remarkably more comfortable space as a shelter than the gymnasium, and here, anyone can stay and communicate freely. A farm-product shipping association and sixth-industry businesses were founded based on the plan of this facility, but it is our hope that interaction between residents in the region and those from urban areas will be generated here, contributing to the revitalization of the overall community.         

School building
"porch of the town"

What was most important for you during the design process?

This facility was planned to create a place for residents from the region and tourists to meet and interact. The “porch of the town,” additionally built on the front side of the old school building, is a semi-outdoor buffer area, and the first floor is a portico-like space in front of local shops and the second floor produces veranda-like space in front of the lodging rooms. Passive environmental equipment such as heat-accumulating black-and-white resin panels, tents to form heat borders, return ducts and pressure ventilators for temperature control, and canopies was installed to establish a space for actively enjoying the warm climate of Minami Boso. 

"porch of the town"
Simple accommodation (old classroom)
Public space for children (old classroom)

What challenges did you face in the project? How did you respond to them?

Due to the usage change from a school to a complex facility, satisfying standards after the renovation, including securing fire protection performance and fire compartment for different usages by the removal of the staircase, was an issue.
With how to keep memories of the original school as one concept, mindful efforts were made to use the space of the school and existing furniture and supplies as much as possible. Plants from the school were transferred to the external facility or reused for log benches and so forth.   

Bath room building (old teachers' office building)
Bath room
Farm-fresh market (old gymnasium)
Farm-fresh market (old gymnasium)
Field
Evening view

How does this project fit into current architectural trends such as sustainability, social function, or technology? 

With more and more elementary schools closing, there are quite a few renovation projects. However, this plan is slightly different from the others. The farm-fresh market as a Michi-no-Eki, restaurants, accommodation facility, and a space for people from the community co-exist, and there are various layers of visitors, from those who come from cities by car, those who stay overnight to enjoy the facility, and those from the community. Moreover, this facility can be a pioneering renovation project not just because it has multiple functions combined but also because it has elements expected to provide a space for people to interact, such as the porch of the town, the warm-bathing facility, and the terrace in front of it. 

1F plan
School building section

E-mail interview by Ryogo Utatsu / japan-architects

Michi-no-Eki Hota Shoggako

2015
Chiba, Japan

Architects
N.A.S.A architects JV

Project Team
architectureWORKSHOP
  >>japan-architects
SPATIAL DESIGN STUDIO
ADH Architects
NASCA

Structural Engineer
Structual Design Office OAK / EJIRI STRUCTURAL ENGENEERS

Contractor
TOKAI KENSETU

MEP/FP Engineer
Setubikeikaku.co.ltd

Planting Adviser
ash-garden

Environmental Adviser
MAGORI LAB

Site Area
14235.50㎡

Building Area
2660.14㎡

Total Floor Area
3486.73㎡

Photo
Satoshi Asakawa

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