Yokohama International Port Terminal

  A visit to Yokohama International Port Terminal

                            photograph by mirutake     8.10,2002

 Do you know a photographer, Shoji Ueda? This is one of his famous photographs which was taken on the Tottori sand dune. It is really a work of amazement and relief. *1 I have known about it since I was in the twenties. In those days I was not mature enough to accept that there existed such kind of photography. I was then attracted more to such works as “photographs as expression”, “anti-regime photographs” or “photographs of extraordinary life”. This time as I actually stood before the scenery of the port terminal I enjoyed the carefree and calm atmosphere which reminded me of the wave-like sand dune of his pictures. It may be that I am now matured to realize that the expression in architecture would be found in calmness and serenity. Besides I had visited there along with friends whose occupations were not related to architecture.  (*1 There are more beautiful sand dune photos but unfortunately it is not possible to see unless you get a photograph collection. I,m sorry.)

  At the time when it won the architectural competition the main feature of the project was a new structural presentation of steel plate stretched in waves making it hard to distinguish the boundary of the floor, the wall or the ceiling. I could hardly wait to see how it was realized upon construction. After going through structural alterations, the aluminum plate was used in the ceiling and the wall and the floor were made of wood. As I looked at the pictures of the project in the architectural magazine and the pictures which my friend had taken, I wondered about the meaning of this wood flooring.

I had walked to the pier from Kannai Station.
At the entrance the wood flooring had appeared in place of the asphalt pavement. Then my feet felt something different,so different a feeling from that of the asphalt. The flooring was so resilient in touch. I felt this special kind of feeling on my foot for the first time. It would have been due to a thin space left on jointing the boards. Also the material and the floor joists might have something to do to produce this effect. So it was this lightness I felt upon walking. I now recognized the meaning of the wood flooring.

 As I walked along further, I saw people staying around relaxed in the grass and the round bank. I thought that I had seen this kind of scenery before. Yes, it,s the scenery in the pictures of Shoji Ueda; the sand dune and the people. I now recognized that the wave-like wood flooring which had created a composed atmosphere resembled the calm appearance of the sand dune. Nowhere were seen vertical or horizontal lines at all.
It was a world created which no longer exists in the urban area nowadays.

Thus a leading architecture of today had presented such a calm and floating like exterior space which was against the speed and the efficiency of the age. This big wave-like scenery comes from architecture creating the landscape and not from the landscape design. They have created a new “hill” in architecture. It was the wave-like earth itself which was created using the most of PC. The geometric figure formed by the straight lines had developed into a big curved line which could not be drawn by hand any more.


And now let me abstract some examples briefly to see the relation between the landscape design and the architecture using mainly the examples I have actually seen. Although it is only putting together the images of each project it might be worthwhile since the continuity of progress seen through various methods may be perceived.

A new type of landscape architecture has appeared such as in the landscape in Toyota Municipal Museum of Art (1996). Innovating the European type of geometric plane composition in gardening, more free arrangement in composing the plane and more freedom in the combination of materials were done. What is more there were even various touch felt upon walking. Now most landscape design in architecture belongs to this type.

The attempt to cover the large portion of the building with trees is seen such as in Across Fukuoka(1995) There are also tendency to cover the wall with plants. Tanpopo House( 1996), Nira House (1997) by Terunobu Fujimori

In the Mumin House at Akebono Children Forest Park(1997) the soil is piled up on the roof in order to coordinate with the surrounding nature. It is becoming popular to plant the trees on the roof. This type has been generalized and legislated.

There is also a way of building the architecture under the ground surface. Kirosan Observatory (1994) Kitakami Canal Museum(1998) by Kengo Kuma and Omori Shell Mound Park(1996) may belong to this type.

In the Tokyo Gardening Show(2000), we have seen an expression creating “a garden space which has a surrounded feeling.”in “ Kamisama(deity) of the garden has come” (2000)

In Otaku Kyuyomura Tobu(1998) we were presented with the geometric figure of architecture coordinating with the river and other geographical feature of the place.

In the case of Yokohama International Port Terminal(2002) we were presented with a leading figure of architecture where the wood flooring represented the earth itself although in some part the grass was planted.
I think that through these examples the locus of the efforts made concerned with the relationship between the landscape design and the architecture may be perceived.


hp by architects   There are beautiful pictures.

<architect profile>hp

Yokohama International Port Terminal hp

Structural Design Group hp

The night view of Yokohama International PortTerminal(360degree) hp In spite of the difficult night scene, beautiful pictures have been taken.

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