Furubira Town Hall CAN@YELL | TAISEI DESIGN Planners Architects & Engineers
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Furubira Town Hall CAN@YELL | TAISEI DESIGN Planners Architects & Engineers

In Japan’s northern region, specifically in Furubira, a new complex comprising a municipal building and exchange facility was constructed. The necessity for this development arose as the old Furubira Town Hall, utilized for approximately a century, had to undergo reconstruction due to its susceptibility to earthquakes and other disasters.

Furubira Town Hall

© Kotaro Imada

Being the inaugural town in Hokkaido to proclaim itself a “Zero Carbon City,” Furubira is undertaking a pioneering initiative to strive for nearly zero net carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, demonstrating a commitment to global environmental protection. Despite facing a cold climate with almost half the year covered in snow, our primary objective with the Furubira Town Hall was to attain substantial energy savings and establish environmentally friendly architecture. The overarching goal was to develop a sustainable town in this challenging environment for the next 100 years.

Furubira Town Hall

© Kotaro Imada

Furubira Town Hall CAN@YELL’s Design Concept

The exterior of Furubira Town Hall resembles a grove and incorporates a structure designed to withstand horizontal forces, featuring externally insulated wall columns on all sides. This structural framework allows for the customization of the size of openings and the spacing of wall columns to align with interior requirements. The concrete structure surrounding the building’s perimeter integrates radiant heating and cooling elements as heat storage devices. This design provides a warm area near the windows, which tend to get cold in winter.

Furubira Town Hall

© Kotaro Imada

Photovoltaic power generation panels are strategically placed in stripes on the glass openings, enabling both outside views and energy generation. Ventilation openings are also incorporated, allowing external air to flow through the gaps in the grove-like exterior walls. These measures establish an energy-efficient and comfortable living environment, making optimal use of Furubira’s climate.

Furubira Town Hall

© Kotaro Imada

The floor plan of Furubira Town Hall spans 36 square meters, strategically minimizing the exterior wall area. The utilization of Hokkaido timber throughout the building not only supports the local timber cycle but also establishes a welcoming space accessible to the residents of Furubira.

Furubira Town Hall

© Kotaro Imada

The newly engineered composite beams at Furubira Town Hall seamlessly blend laminated wood and concrete. These beams are constructed using Hokkaido larch wood, enhancing their strength by 1.5 times. The wood is integrated with the beams at the factory, serving as formwork for concrete casting, and is directly installed at the site. This innovative approach substantially reduces formwork waste while actively sequestering CO2 through wood. Notably, the beams were established during the winter, leveraging the precast method to significantly enhance workability in the snowy conditions at Furubira Town Hall.

Furubira Town Hall

© Kotaro Imada

The design of Furubira Town Hall aims to encapsulate the essence of the present by incorporating workshops and upcycling practices that utilize the existing structure. This was achieved by creatively using tie holes in the grove-like structure to showcase local children’s drawings and repurposing the formwork from the columns in the Japanese-style room for the sloping ceiling, avoiding its disposal. These strategies actively integrate the memory of the present into the fabric of Furubira Town Hall.

Furubira Town Hall

© Kotaro Imada

Tailored to the local environment, Furubira Town Hall is the inaugural ZEB-certified municipal building in a cold region. Currently, it has realized an impressive energy savings rate of 79%. With the aspiration that this building endures for a century, it is anticipated to substantially diminish CO2 emissions, solidifying Furubira as a town committed to environmental friendliness.

Furubira Town Hall

© Kotaro Imada

Project Info:
Architects: TAISEI DESIGN Planners Architects & Engineers
Area: 3887 m²
Year: 2022
Photographs: Kotaro Imada
Manufacturers: AIZAWA Concrete Corporation, Japan Kenzai Co.,Ltd., KANEKA CORPORATION, SANKO PRECON SYSTEM Co.,Ltd., Sankyo Tateyama
Lead Architect: Akio Takahashi
Landscape Consultants: Nippon Data Service Co.,Ltd.
Contractors: Taisei Corporation
Design Team: Hiroki Sugino, Mayumi Suzuki, Sayako Maeda
Structura Engineers: Satoshi Ishizawa, Satoko Koyama, Kosuke Kumagai
Mep Engineers: Tomoo Kumagai, Tomoko Shoji, Susumu Yamamoto, Taisuke Ohki, Sachio Yoshida, Kazunori Toma
Client: FURUBIRA TOWN
Information Center Design From Hokkaido Univ Laboratory Of Architectural Design: Tomohito Naito, Takeo Ozawa
City: Furubira
Country: Japan

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