Roadside Station Mashiko

Mashiko, Tochigi
Photo © Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Photo © Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Photo © Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Photo © Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Photo © Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Photo © Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Photo © Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Photo © Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Photo © Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Photo © Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Photo © Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Photo © Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Architects
Mount Fuji Architects Studio
Location
Mashiko, Tochigi
Year
2016

Architecture of Scenery

Mashiko in Tochigi is well-known for the Mingei (folk crafts) movement, especially ceramic art. We had visited its southern region for countless times in order to propose a roadside station. The site was surrounded by expansive rurality and farming fields, behind which the serene hills enclosed and differentiated the world from the others. As a local promotion facility, the roadside station should clearly express the regional attractiveness to outsiders while functioning as a kind of local symbol that could also identify local people. Our main idea was to design a building out of what had come into eyes there. So what we were looking for was the one in which formation (form) and material (substance) were all discovered from the scenery to establish locality. The design was coordinated and comprehended through the roof structure covering the whole space, Doma (earth floor), and walls connected with earth. Firstly, the roofscape came from the landscape of the surrounding mountains. Its slope followed the ridges of the local mountains. There were three rows of roofs fluctuating with phase difference to prevent its being a planar background while ensuring a sense of spaciousness. The rhythm of fluctuation and texture took after the local mountains defining the shape of the roof. Besides, the material applied that enabled the roof structure of which largest span could approach 32m was also a local wood, named as Yamizo cedar, processed by local laminated timber factory. On the other hand, the lower part of each walls existed as a continuity of the very earth. Like just rising from the Doma, the trapezoidal walls were purely plastered with on-site soil. Through its massiveness like the sumo ring, it embodied the town's slogan, namely 'hospitality of the soil', showing that Mashiko was characterized by 'blessings from the soil' such as pottery and agricultural products. The interior was defined by the timber structure in line with the mountainous rhythm and the supporting walls that were arranged discretely in order to properly divide the space. The sequence resembling a stroll to the folds of the mountains nearby, which was created by the changes in the size of spaces, and natural light brought down by the clerestories born from the roof phase difference, produced non-homogenous encounters with products. Furthermore, the big openings on the gable connected the interior space with the fields and mountains that stretched in front of them, which built up a direct relation between the food being tasted and the visual scenery. Such architecture extended and undoubtedly further purified the land scenery in both symbolic and experiential terms. Similar to ceramic art, perhaps it was a result brought by the secondary nature recreated through people’s interpretation of that land scenery. The architecture made from scenery while creating scenery was exactly what we pursued.

2020: Architectural Institute of Japan Award

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