Our plan is to reconstruct the former Hirozakari Sake Brewery site owned by Nakanojo-machi, Gunma Prefecture, as an event facility. As the owner of Shima springs, Nakanojo-machi has recently been taking an active part in promoting cultural and art events, including the Nakanojo Biennale. The former Hirozakari Sake Brewery site has been used as the center for these events. For this plan, we created designs for the construction of facilities to store and exhibit eleven bird-hunting drums, which are designated by Gunma Prefecture as important tangible folk cultural properties, along with designs for the renovation of the existing warehouse and washroom.
In order to use the former sake brewery site as an event facility, Nakanojo-machi purchased the land and buildings of the brewery in 2007. However, as the existing buildings were very dilapidated, it was difficult to use all the buildings in their original state. So, we decided to demolish these buildings, except for the office building (steel structure), the storage room (stone structure) and the warehouse (wooden structure), which are well maintained and also have attractive features as architectural spaces. After the demolition, we created a public space, including a storage/exhibition room and a garden, at the former brewery site. We also planned to make positive use of the spaces between buildings that were created through the sequences of demolition and construction, and we used those spaces for approaches to the buildings and open-air exhibition spaces.
By its nature, the newly constructed storage/exhibition room does not have any openings on its exterior walls other than those required for the transportation of drums. Instead of creating openings, we built a tunnel-like passage that runs through the building so that visitors can experience the interior space. This passage is lined on both sides with double-strength glass panels (maximum height: 4.5 m) that are supported by upper and lower frames. The two glass screens formed by these panels are not perfectly parallel with each other but are slightly tilted so that they appear to expand into the square and the watercourse outside. Due to this design, these glass screens repeatedly reflect each other, and the multi-layered images created inside the passage have a strong visual impact. The exterior appearance of the building covered with aluminum-zinc alloy-coated steel plates reminds us of boarded walls. Despite its modern style with no eaves or gables, the building creates a traditional Japanese atmosphere that matches the old warehouse, and other existing buildings.