Gifu Media Sphere – IAMAS Satellite Campus

Kwang Kai Jie

The Gifu Media Sphere is a satellite campus / gallery for IAMAS, which is a school that combines progressive technological development and cultural trends to propose advanced artistic expression, design innovation, and ideals for new community and manufacturing techniques. IAMAS aims to educate socially aware “creatives” through an intensive research and hands-on practice. They have a plethora of projects that tackle a variety of different social, political, and economic topics, and they work with different organisations around Japan, recently including Tarumi Railway and Gifu Kakamigahara Aerospace Museum. My preliminary research therefore focuses on the current state of IAMAS in its hometown of Ogaki City as well as the current state of Gifu city, and the potentials that I could tap into to make the most out of this intervention. Ogaki city is a fairly suburban city with not much going on for it, a lot of farmland and a high reliance on cars and parking lots, and a low reliance of public transport and walking. The IAMAS campus usually only sees their own students visiting it, and perhaps some other people who happen to have things to do nearby. In contrast, Gifu city sees a high reliance on public transport, and walking. The Municipal Hall is also in a good location, located right on an intersection of Kinkabashi Street which is a main road of Gifu city linking the Nagara River and the Gifu station. Opposite the Municipal hall is the newly constructed City Hall, as well as the Media Cosmos and the Mieji Kannon. There are also many schools around the area highlighted in green, and traditional crafts spots. Therefore, the decision to give the Municipal Hall to IAMAS was to give them a fresh environment to work with, one that allows them to take advantage of the high foot traffic and build a closer relationship with the public by actively engaging them more within the campus. It also gives IAMAS more opportunities within Gifu city itself, since having worked with external organisations before, they have even more to choose from in Gifu City.

The additional volumes that were added are mainly the tower behind the cylinder for the main campus itself, and the spherical volume above the cylinder for the gallery. The idea was to make it look like aliens landed from the sky and overshadows but also compliments the old form. The sphere on top of the cylinder was the main “overshadowing” “alien landing” component, and the tower behind it as the “complimentary” form that connects the old and the new volumes, thus ending up with 4 distinct geometries that can then be given the functions required for a media arts school. The original form was completely preserved, with a few demolitions done to the interior of the L shalpe podium to accomodate a new cafeteria, and reusing some of the old room as conference rooms for collaboratove project meetings or courses hosted for external parties.

The resulting form created very interesting connections, the main one being the visual connectivity between the gallery sphere and the auditorium. The link bridge between the tower and the sphere also captures the feeling of grandiose when entering the spherical volume, which is achieved by transitioning from a very tight space as the visitors exit the lift of the tower to a sudden large and very tall space of the sphere. The second floor of the L shape podium is also utilised by demolishing the windows and adding a link staircase and platform from the auditodium to the L shape podium.

The floor plans below also depict the circulation of people and visitors as they move from the Cylinder to the L shape Podium to the Tower then finally to the Sphere. Some notable things include the addition of the pickup point and cargo bay, which helps to give a more significant role to cars than before as an active player in bringing people and materials into the building and adds an additional sense of connection between IAMAS and Gifu city. The L shape podium intervention is also worth mentioning, which in and of itself is the connection between the cylinder and the tower, as well as its own volume. It takes advantage of the fact that its circulation becomes sort of a blended area between the IAMAS campus and the public space and acts as a meeting point for these 2 entities, solidifying the original goal of having IAMAS interact more with the general public of Gifu.

The model below was constructed in order to understand better the circluation but more importantly the visual connectivity and relation between the 4 volumes, especially between the auditorium and the gallery sphere as that introduces the most dynamic visual play between the old and new volume, and the people within.