The Chino Cultural Complex visited
Designed by Furuya Nobuaki November, 2005
Photographed by mirutake May, 2006
JR Chino is a small station. The Chino Cultural Complex can be approached directly from the passage of the station building on the second floor.
Perhaps it is the first public library constructed in direct contact with the station building. This would be most convenient for the users of this station. The small scale of the station made it possible to compose a library with a space that is calm and directly connected to the station.
The handling of toilet space is inventive. The conventional toilet space had been an enclosed space, closed by means of a door and enclosed by the wall plane. The floor space enclosed in the glass box is the corridor and forms a flow to the toilet. Only the booth part of the toilet is enclosed by wall and a door. The toilet was created into a space with openness except for the glass architecture. Conversion of the idea made it successful. The same style was applied for the toilet of multi purpose hall with 780 seats. Did it not change the disenchanted feeling of toilet use during attending the performance?
As I stand on the passage of the library, the station building is seen in front of me. As it happened to be a local station on the countryside, the home stands simple which can be overlooked at near sight. How could this feeling of looking down be described? This spatial feeling in air is like a bird's eye view, as if I could hold the distribution of the building at once. It felt as though standing outside and gazing down the station building in front of me.
The glass box forms a U shape. It doesn't only enclose the yard but the glass glazed library enabled us to see through the local mountain range over the station.
I also noticed that one can see through the bottom of the sloped floor of the library building. What does this mean? It may express "lightness" of the building. It may be the "light-heartedness" for the user.
However, I must confess that it was not at all noticeable at first standing on the site that one could see through the other side of the building.
Realization of the architecture__ a simple glass box that makes us see through the landscape on the other side of the building.
In the photographs carried in the architecture magazine or even in the photos that I had taken, it was difficult to observe the see through phenomenon. Even when standing at the site it was difficult to observe that the scenery on the other side of the building was visible through the glass. Doesn't this tell that it might be only after one had expressed about his experience in words that one could recognize it? So there I found myself feeling something first and then asking me what it really was. This was how I felt standing on the Chino Cultural Complex. And I had to take out what this glass feeling meant, enclosed yet feeling open in the yard.
Is it not the first realization in the world of glass made building which made it possible to see through the other side of the building? All the architects aspired to realize this. However, the problems were always ; could it be built thin in one span and could all sides be glazed in transparent glass ? Furthermore; what kind of use could be possible in the thin glass building and would the air condition operate properly ? The dream of glass architecture has been realized here.
The geography of the Chino City tells that it is basin( same as Ueda City where I grew) and over the glass building of the library we can see the local mountain range. Perhaps this landscape is nothing but a simple daily sight for the local people. However, somewhat it didn't look real to me: is this landscape real ? It was because I was possessed with the idea that the development of station plaza would turn out destroying natural landscapes.
This architecture is a complex. By making common passages and connecting each facilities, it formed a comfortable space, the yard enclosed in U shape. It is as it should be up to this point.
Since this U shaped building happens to be a glass box, the enclosed yard is not just enclosed but beyond the glass library the station and the local mountain range is visible.
What does this mean?
Usually in the countryside, the construction related to the station would be built enclosing the station area and blocking the landscape of local mountain range and tends to suffocate the sense of space. However, the glass architecture made it possible to preserve the open scenery of the local mountain range and the open atmosphere of rural station building. It has produced a new and special landscape which could only be achieved by contemporary architecture( This is the point.)
When I first read about the glass building in the magazine, I didn't feel so eager to go on visiting. The black and white stripe was not impressive enough and I did not recognize the mountain range seen through the glass building. However, after the visit, I saw the locals welcome and enjoy the new complex. Still, the color seems to stand out. Even after struck by the invention, I still think that there should be some other material suitable to be selected that would look more real over the transparent glass.