Nitobe Memorial Hall

Date: Fall 2014

Class: Design 5 – Ray Mann, UMass Amherst

Objective: Design a memorial hall that pays homage to the Nitobe family by include a place for the community to escape from the noisy urban environment of the city, and surround them in a greener, more human-scaled environment that is more pleasant to be in, and safe for all ages. Traffic, noise pollution, views, scale, weather, snow loads, and sunlight all have to be taken account for.

Location: Sapporo, Japan

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A triangular-shaped void brings visitors from the street on
the east side, through the solid mass of the two
intersecting building forms, and into the middle of the site.
The void projects out over a pool of water below, that
serves as a reflecting pool and fountain during the
summer, while being transformed into an ice rink in the
winter. The north and east sides form a threshold between
the site and surrounding context.


A two-sided lobby allows circulation through the building, with bathrooms and a nursing area adjacently located. This lobby can be closed off from the rest of the building, and is open 24 hours a day to provide access to the bathrooms. A reception area is visible from both entrances, and a kitchenette is tucked away behind. A narrowing hallway frames a view into the archive, where a climate controlled space holds important documents of the Nitobe Family. In the other wing, is an exhibition space, that can also be used to hold community meetings and events. Before proceeding up the stairs, shoes must be taken off in the area provided. On the second floor are three classrooms, ranging from small to large sizes. A seating nook area sits across the hallway.


The orientation and form of the building is optimized for views and sunlight, so it is positioned in the northeast corner of the, with many of the view windows facing south
and west. Water collection concepts from the Urban Park of Palouriotissa – 3rd Prize are integrated into the design. The pool serves as a reservoir for rain water collected on-site. The roofs are sloped to direct water to the east side where they run down a series of rain gardens before ending up in the pool. A precedent Study of the architecture of Kuma, Kengo uses his language of architectural screens as an influence for the design of the perimeter and entrance screens / fences.

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