Gifu Ex-Prefectural Office: Nature Research Activity Centre

Ng Yun Shu

The main focus of the project is the nature aspect of Gifu. This includes the forests, as well as the mountains present. The aim was to repurpose the Ex-prefectural office into a research and activity centre that can be used to educate the public on the different forest ecosystems in Gifu, as well as provide them with a space that they can use as a community. In the research of Gifu City, the places for potential collaboration, education, museums and parks where pinpointed out. With the addition of this new facility, there will be greater connections between the pinpointed sites, even creating a loop where the centre can act as the starting point and ending point for an urban sketching trail. The building itself was inspired by an interesting fact of Mount Kinka having a climax forest that has reached a steady state in its ecosystem due to the different sunlight requirements of the trees present. In the West wing, terracing along the North South axis created open spaces that allowed sunlight in. In the East wing, terracing along the East West axis increased the area and closed the spaces off to sunlight.

In order to improve the structural stability of the old building, the foundations on the first floor were kept throughout both wings and the walls were reinforced. Lift cores were also added to both east and west wings. Both East and West wings adopt different strategies on improving the structural stability of the building. In the East wing, the footprint of the building was increased, and more walls were added to better ground the building. In the West wing, the load of the building was lessened by the removal of walls and floor area on the upper floors, and a bridge was added on the second floor connecting to the Media Cosmos to anchor the building laterally.

The original flow throughout the building was kept, where the first floor catered to more private uses, and the second and third floor were for the public. The red in the drawings depict areas that were added, while the yellow depicts areas that were removed. Both public and private would be able to experience the different atmospheres in both wings of the building as their programs alternate between both spaces.

The wood details and doors removed from the upper floor West wing were repurposed to different parts of the building on the East, namely the first floor which did not have such details due to the building’s previous hierarchy. The different rooms would then adopt different materials on the top half to set the mood and function of the space. For example, cork for the exhibition rooms and glass for the offices.

In addition to the drawings above, 2 physical models were made to further illustrate the project’s idea. The 1:200 model focuses on showing an overall massing of the building, while showcasing how the interventions aid in creating very distinct east and west wings. The 1:25 model supplements the idea of how the mood of certain rooms are achieved for their function based on the materials selected to cooperate with the repurposed wood details on the walls.

1:200 Front
Contrast between light west wing and dark east wing
1:200 Bird’s-eye view
1:200 Top
1:200 East elevation
1:200 Back
1:25 East Section
1:25 East section
1:25 Cork detail
1:25 Repurposed old reception hall
1:25 Repurposed wood wall detail
1:25 Repurposed mantle