Kyoto JR Station
What is a railway station that is simultaneously a cultural center, a hotel, a convention center, and a department store? What do speed, communication, and modernity have to do with the ancient civilization of Kyoto? What does the small scale of the typical Japanese dwelling or machiya have to do with today’s megablocks? The juxtaposition of function, scale, and historical time in contemporary culture is not a negative phenomenon but belongs to the logic of a new urban society. How, then, could the proposed encounters between disparate activities affect each other positively? How could the juxtaposition of the past and the future influence everyday lives in a constructive and enjoyable manner? How could the alignment of megascale and tatami scale generate a new pleasure in the contemporary city? more
The competition for the railway station in Kyoto, Japan is characteristic of hybrid megaprojects at the end of the 20th century. We began by decomposing the overall program into its main constituent elements and aligning them with the Kyoto grid—one block for the cultural center, two for the hotel and convention center, two for the department store, and two for parking, keeping a nine-meter opening between each block at the location of the street grid. We then subdivided the blocks into organizational strips 18 meters, 27 meters, and 18 meters wide respectively, with a three- meter gap between them to allow natural light into the center of the blocks.
Finally, we “staged” a combination of image theater, sky lounge, wedding chapel, athletic club, amusement arcade, gourmet market, and historical museum into a new and composite architectonic element invented by us: the programmatic extractor or “skyframe.” Placed in front of the hotel, convention center, large store, and the parking lot blocks, the skyframe is the intersection of a horizontal slab (the 250-meter-long, structurally gridded, hollow beam) and seven uneven vertical slabs (the supporting towers or yaguras, 5.4 meters wide by 15 meters deep and ranging from 62 to 83 meters high). Besides extreme programmatic intensity, the skyframe, with its long cantilevered space and slender glass towers (“seven gates”), was to give Kyoto a new heterogeneous sign to be superimposed on the temple landscape without obliterating it. back
250,000 sq. meters
City of Kyoto
Lead Designer: Bernard Tschumi. Key Personnel: Koichi Yasuda, Mark Haukos, François Gillet, Robert Young, Hidemichi Takahasi, Hiroyuki Shirai, Winka Dubbeldam, Felix Jerusalem. Osaka: Kimiaki Minai, Toshinori Teramoto, Toshiro Hata, Nobuyshi Hamada, Akira Hanajima, Masahiro Okazaki, Kazuhiro Otaka, Kosaku Maekawa, Hiroaki Ohtani, Toshihiko Azuma. Consultants: Peter Rice, Hugh Dutton (RFR); Michel Mein, Isao Nagaoka, Tom Kowalski (CAD); John Blood