Tato Architects / Yo Shimada

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Hut with the Arc Wall

Location / Kagawa,Japan
Type / Public Toilet

Tato Architects
Team /Yo Shimada Takeo Watanabe
Eisuke Mitsuda Structural Design
Team / Eisuke Mitsuda Jun Yanagimuro
COCA-Z Tatsuya Kokaji
Uematsu Koumuten
Main Structure – Timber on concrete mat foundation
Site Area 217.88 ㎡
Building Area 37.42 ㎡ (17.18% of max 70% of coverage ratio permission)
Total Floor Area 37.42 ㎡ (17.18% of max 200% of floor area ratio permission)

Located on Shodoshima Island, this public toilet was designed as a part of the Setouchi Art Festival 2013.
The site is in an area called “Hishio-no-Sato” (the village of sauce, in Japanese). This area has the largest amount of old soy sauce storehouses in Japan. These buildings are characterized by wooden frame structures in Japanese style and big round cedar barrels under, where soy sauce is made and stored. Many of these buildings are still in use and produces soy sauce by the traditional method. And is therefore authorized and registered as tangible cultural properties.
These beautiful traditional buildings became the inspirational source for our design. We wanted it to serve as a landmark for those who take a walk around here, as well as to blend in with the existing townscape.
Ideally, we wanted to relocate and renovate an existing vacant structure, but due to circumstances on the site, the construction had to be completed in about two months. To find and relocate a suitable structure in the short time frame was impossible. So instead a new structure was created consisting of a traditional roof and frame with a curved wall beneath, that wraps around the space and creates suitable sized rooms, to function as public bathrooms.
To shorten the construction period, the curved steel plates used for walls were prefabricated elsewhere while the foundation work was in progress on site. Making it possible to install the wall at the same time as frame and roof structure were build.
Traditional tiles cover most of the sites surrounding houses and buildings. Therefore, in this project we choose to arrange glass and smoked tiles in a mosaic pattern. In daytime the sunlight filters through the glass tiles and FRP roof boards in to the structure, creating a space filled with patches of light like when the sun shine through leaves. Seen from the outside during daytime the difference between glass and smoked tile is barely noticeable and is easily mistaken for a slight colour change due to ageing like the surrounding roofs. However when it gets dark the light shines through the glass tile from the inside and the difference in tiles become clear.
The curved walls gently invites you in and encourage you to walk along the walls making the interior seem more spacious than as it is as you follow the curve and explore the space. A place that naturally opens up and closes off to keep a certain extend of privacy where needed.

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