The year of 2019 should also become an important for me because the new National Stadium of Japan is scheduled to be completed at the end of November this year. We are currently doing a final confirmation of the details inside and outside the stadium.
This large stadium was designed as a collection of small-diameter pieces of wood. The facade consists of overlapping multi-layered eaves. The areas under the respective eaves are covered with small-diameter wood louvers in an attempt to express the tradition of beautiful eaves in Japanese architecture in an appropriate contemporary manner. Square cedar lumber measuring 105mm which is the most common size in Japan was split into three pieces to be used as the louvers, and the pitch of each louver was adjusted in a number of directions as a means to control the volume of wind channeled into the stadium.
The roof has a truss structure created by combining steel beams and laminated lumber with a medium cross-section, utilizing the axial stiffness of wood to minimize deformation of the roof trusses due to wind or earthquakes.
The year of 2018 was a major milestone for me, as V&A Dundee which we designed in Scotland was successfully brought to completion and I could celebrate the opening of the building with the local people. It was a year where I could find the new direction of designing architecture by introducing a topographic structure into the building of the V&A Dundee. It is the first design museum in Scotland and is expected to function as a base for promoting Scottish culture.
The building site faces the River Tay which flows south of the Dundee River. The structure projects out over the water, an idea which we proposed for a new type of architecture which blends into the natural environment and the surrounding landscape. We were intrigued by the beautiful cliffs of Orkney Island in the north of Scotland and wanted to convey its natural randomness through the architecture, so we came up with the idea of stacking layers of long slabs of precast concrete with varying angles, to realize a façade with subtle nuances and dynamics. Today’s advanced systems for parametric design enabled us to achieve our purpose here. We opened a cave through the center of the building to connect the beautiful nature of River Tay with Union Street: the axis running through the town of Dundee. Dundee was once the most prosperous harbor city in Scotland, but a group of warehouses erected in the 20th century virtually severed the relationship between the river and the city. The warehouses were removed to revive the site as the core of an ambitious urban design, using the museum as its symbol. The hole in the museum made it possible to extend the activities of the city out to the waterfront and now the river has reclaimed its role as a promenade. Using a void to strengthen the connection between nature and people is an idea found in Shinto shrines, using Torii, the gateway to the shrine.
For the interior, randomly attached panels worked effectively to create a wide and relaxed space. As the section of the building shows, the space expands upward so visitors can experience a unique sense of openness that wouldn’t exist in the foyer of other museums. Concerts and performances are also held here, making V&A the living room for the whole community of Dundee.