Kanazawa, SANAA – Johansson - GD1 Studio Fall 2012

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Kanazawa, Japan
Arch 5514 | Technology I
David Johansson
Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa
Sanaa is an Architecture firm founded in 1995 by Kazuyo Sjima and Ryue Nishizawa for the purpose of
collaborating on larger projects. The firm is based out of Tokyo but frequently works internationally as well.
Both Sjima and Nishizawa maintain practices of their own for smaller, more locally based projects. Both
individuals went through architecture school in Japan and Sjima worked under Toyo Ito for several years
before founding Kazuyo Sejima and Associates. In 1995, together, her and her former employee Ryue
Nishizawa founded Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates. In 2010 SANAA was awarded the Pritzker Prize,
architecture’s highest honor.
Thought Process & How They Work
SANAA focuses heavily on a projects program as a way of approaching design. They hope to question typical
hiearchies through their designs. They are also concerned with how their designs react to the surrounding site
and their process is a conversation between the program of the project and existing site.
SANAA’s design process involves extensive modeling and drawing in order to produce multitudes of
variations with which to inform their design. Their drawings are minimalist in nature and they attempt to
manifest that simple elegance in the built form. For them, a line in drawing attempts to be a line in built form.
A material palette of steel, glass, concrete, and white paint exists extensively throughout their work.
They often collaborate with Guy Nordenson and Associates, andTokyo-based structural engineer Mutsuro
Sasaki to achieve the minimal, light, elegant look found throughout many of their projects.
Kanazawa Cityz Climate Conditions
The weather conditions of Kanazawa are influenced by temperate climate. The temperature in Kanazawa
ranges from zero degrees celcius in the winter months to 30 degrees celcius in the summer months. The
average temperatures are more mild. Kanazawa experiences the highest rainfall in the season of autumn and
winter. It is also important to note, that due to it being a Japanese city, building insulation requirements are
less strict and it is common for rooms within the same building to vary in temperature.
21st Century Museum Of Contemporary Art: Building Concept + Design
The concept of the Kanazawa Museum was based on its central location in the city. A circular glass exterior
form was chosen to represent transparent, equal opportunities to enter the building from anywhere in the
city. Within the circular form, a series of rectiliear forms fulfil the programmatic needs of galleries, courtyards,
and auditoriums. The spaces between these rectilinear boxes become the circulation paths of the building.
The transparent, circular, glass facade allows the exterior of the building to extend into the city and the city
to move freely into the building. The simple palet of white and glass allows the relationships between spaces
and form to be read as clearly as possible.
The museums structure consists of a steel beam and concrete ceiling, steel beam shear walls (the museum
boxes), five inch tubular steel columns holding up the ceiling, polished concrete floor, and a steel structured
basement and sub-floor to support the ground floor.
Sketch Model
Building Condition Sketches
How the building turns the corner
\How the building meets the ground
\\How the building meets the sky \\\\How the building makes a wall
\\\How the building makes an opening
How the Building Turns a Corner
The Kanazawa Museum turns the corner in several ways. On the exterior of the circular building, the corner
is turned through the transparent, circular glass’ relationship as it passes by the opaque, rectilinear boxes.
The interior of the building is the only place where a physical corner is made. If the corner is making a gallery
then it is a opaque, solid, corner. In any other place where a physical corner is made, SANAA attempts to
make that corner disappear. They achieve this by using as many thin, transparent materials as possible. When
they are forced to use opaque materials for the rods that hang the glass ceiling, they space these unevenly
so that any rhythm or pattern disappears and the viewer tends to notice the rods less.
Model Process
Condition Model
Condition Model

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