News 17-03 (No.351)
Issued : March 25, 2017
The New “Big Roof Takizawa” - A Place of Creativity and Meetups for Everyone
By Toshiko Fukuchi
A new destination campus named “Takizawa Big Roof” recently completed in Takizawa City, giving the residents of this central Iwate Prefecture city a new venue for cultural and other gatherings. The new building brings spaces for 3 distinct purposes under one “big roof”. One of these purposes is to provide a Community Center.
The Community Center has the largest footprint of the 3 kinds of spaces at Big Roof Takizawa. The center includes a versatile, flat-floored Large Hall equipped with deployable, tiered audience seating, a Small Hall, and conference rooms and studios among other rooms. In addition to the Community Center, the building houses a public library and a third group of spaces dedicated to creative industries, such as the arts, multimedia, video games and similar endeavors.
On December 1, 2016, the Community Center and public library opened for general use. On April 1, 2017, the Creative Industries Center will open and Big Roof Takizawa will be 100% operational. Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei served as the Big Roof Takizawa project architect, Sumitomo Mitsui Construction built the facility and Nagata Acoustics provided the full range of acoustical consulting services to the project from the design phase through the completion of construction.
For people familiar with Iwate Prefecture, you may have questioned that I call Takizawa a city instead of a town. On January 1, 2014, the town of Takizawa officially became a newly incorporated city. Until that time, Takizawa Town, with its population of more than 55,000 residents, was well known in Japan as the most populous town in the nation. After its incorporation as a city, Takizawa continues to prosper as a growing suburb of Morioka City.
Takizawa is also famous as the location of the annual Chagu Chagu Umakko Horse Festival held on the second Saturday in June. From the Shinto shrine in Takizawa City to the Morioka Hachiman-gu Shrine some 15 km (9 miles) away, 100 or more horses adorned with colorful bridles, headdresses and bell ornaments form a long parade during the festival. The name of the festival derives from the “chagu” sound that can be heard as the horses parade along the festival route and the bells of their regalia create a rhythmic percussion. The bells of the Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival are included in the 100 Soundscapes of Japan, an official designation of Japan’s Ministry of the Environment.
<< Big Roof Takizawa’s Architecture and Programming >>
“Fure-Ai” Casual Lounge Area
The color palette of Big Roof Takizawa emphasizes white as the base color throughout the exterior and interior, with accents of well-placed colors that brighten the feeling of the building and remind the colorful ornaments that adorn the bridles worn by Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival horses. But the most eye-catching aspect of the building’s architecture is surely its big roof, the defining architectural element that also became the source of the facility’s name.
A lawn in front of the building has been named Takizawa Plaza and will be used for outdoor events. Indoors, the interior design’s use of colors adopted from Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival ornaments reinforces the upbeat atmosphere of the entryway’s light-filled space. This entrance area has natural light streaming into the building through the structure’s windows into the “Fure-Ai” casual lounge area where Takizawa City residents can come for casual meetups and conversations. A glass stairway at the side of the lounge leads to the building’s second floor. Beyond the stairway and the windows of the exterior, the peak of Mount Iwate can be seen rising in the distance.
The Community Center is located to the right of the lounge and extending to the rear of the building. The library is also towards the rear of the building, across from the Community Center’s Large Hall and to visitors’ left as they proceed from the lounge area.
The Community Center’s spaces are arranged around a central foyer that serves as a hub for entrances to the Large and Small halls, the conference rooms and studios. The Large Hall is set apart from the foyer by a vertically operated shutter system and the Small Hall is separated from the foyer by swing doors that open 180 degrees. When both the shutter system and the swing doors are fully opened, the Large Hall, Small Hall and foyer form one continuous space that can be used for large-scale exhibitions.
Glass walls separate the conference rooms and studios from the foyer to create a visual connection between these spaces and the foyer. Like the building’s exterior architectural design, the interior’s architecture gives the multiple separate spaces an overall feeling of light-filled roominess.
The Community Center’s interior architectural design features an open feeling and flexible configuration options for rooms and spaces that can be merged physically and visually through the use of glass walls. This design posed a challenge for obtaining sound isolation between spaces. Nevertheless, because the architecture created both separate spaces and the flexibility to merge some of those spaces into larger spaces, our sound isolation design needed to make the spaces able to be used simultaneously with a certain level of sound isolation. Otherwise, restrictions on simultaneous use of the rooms would have defeated some of the benefits of the architectural design.
As we designed the sound isolation plan for the Community Center, we took the needs of the various spaces into consideration based on the project’s programming. As a result, for the studios and active-use spaces we implemented anti-vibration and sound-isolating structural designs.
<< The Large Hall >>
The Large Hall with Orchestra Shell Deployed
The Large Hall has one balcony at the rear of the hall and configurable main floor seating. The main floor’s retractable seating has pneumatic mechanisms that enable easy deployment and storing of the seating when the hall needs to be adapted from theatre-style seating to a flat-floored space. When all seats are deployed, the main floor and balcony together have a total of 462 seats, all of which can be stored away to create a flat-floored event space.
The Large Hall is also equipped with a configurable stage system. When its orchestra shell is in place, the hall becomes an appropriate venue for classical music concerts. When the stage is configured with its stage curtain, the hall’s acoustics become appropriate for drama, symposia and ceremonies. By setting up the audience seating and the hall stage in their various configurations, the Large Hall can be adapted to a wide variety of uses.
The portion of the Large Hall floor that is towards the stage area is built on electrically operated risers. This allows the audience seating portion of the main floor to be raised to the same height as the stage so that the hall’s seating can easily be moved anywhere on the main floor of the hall. By raising the vertical shutter wall that separates the Large Hall from the foyer, the Large Hall’s seating can also be moved into the foyer and the Small Hall.
In designing the Large Hall’s room acoustics, we took into consideration that one use of the hall will be for non-amplified music performances. For this use, we aimed to obtain abundant sound reverberations by giving the hall as high a ceiling height as possible. In addition, to ensure clarity of sound we proposed shapes for the hall’s ceiling and walls that would promote early sound reflections. The architectural team based its design of these elements of the hall on our proposal.
I have not yet had the pleasure of listening to a concert or attending an event in the hall to hear the acoustics with my own ears. However, from the acoustical measurements we conducted at the completion of the project, I am confident that we achieved our desired objectives for the acoustics of this hall.
I’ve heard that the Community Center’s spaces have already become popular venues for local events and that local residents are enjoying spending time at Big Roof Takizawa. I hope that the new facility will be a favorite and well-used destination for many years to come.
The Big Roof Takizawa website’s URL is https://bigroof.jp/
Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University Opens
By Daniel Beckmann
Building Front ©Nash Baker
A new building at Rice University in Houston, Texas, the Moody Center for the Arts celebrated its Grand Opening on Friday February 24, 2017. The Moody Center seeks to bring to the university campus a diverse, interdisciplinary arts program which should serve both the university and broader Houston communities. The building was designed by Michael Maltzan Architecture, based in Los Angeles. Nagata Acoustics served as the acoustic consultant to the architect for room acoustics, sound isolation and mechanical noise control for the entire facility.
The project is located on the 300-acre campus of Rice University, a wooded preserve in central Houston studded with handsome brick buildings in the Romanesque style. Founded in 1912, the campus serves roughly four thousand undergraduate and three thousand graduate students and is consistently ranked among the top twenty universities in the country and prides itself on having a low ratio of six students per teacher. The new building, located at the southwestern border of the campus, encompasses more than 50,000 square feet (4,600 square meters) and was built with a construction budget of US $30 million. A substantial portion of the building budget is a grant by the Moody Foundation.
<< Program and Architecture of the Building >>
Skylight Gallery Exterior
As an interdisciplinary arts facility, the program of rooms is necessarily quite diverse. Disciplines such as painting, sculpture, film, video, digital interactive media, music and theater, amongst others, are expected to find a home in the building. The building also serves the university at large by offering three general-purpose classroom spaces. The work spaces in the building are centered around a high-ceilinged “Flexible Studio”, which alludes to the prominent “Academic Quadrangles” features of the larger campus. Around the central space are four smaller work rooms, a wood shop, metal shop, paint shop and rapid prototyping lab, a “digital classroom” and four A/V edit suites. Numerous staff and faculty offices and support facilities provide for all needs of the students in the building.
Several large spaces for display and performance of art are provided in the building: the dramatic “Skylight Gallery” with the distinctive tilted skylight (photo at right) providing ample natural light, the 150-seat Studio Theater, a flexible black box style space, and an open “Central Gallery” for experimental performances and exhibitions.
Starburst Column ©Nash Baker
The architecture of the building is intended to emphasize transparency and openness. The exterior of the building appears to be large volumes of dark, manganese ironspot brick floating over an exterior promenade. This promenade is delimited by a curtain wall which exposes the perimeter work spaces and classrooms to the campus. Far from being dark and foreboding, the brick volumes are playfully articulated in the elevation, and punctuated with large windows giving views into the upper floor spaces. Three large “lanterns” anchor the corners of the building, providing possibly the most unique architectural features of the new facility. Two of the lanterns are supported by unique structural “starburst” columns (photo at right). One starburst is dramatically exposed with a teardrop-shaped cut out, which has become an integral element in the brand identity of the facility. The other column is obscured by a semi-transparent brick screen. The third lantern is a public space occupied by a coffee bar, with windows looking over the starburst column and the Central Gallery.
<< Studio Theater >>
Studio Theater ©James Leng,
Michael Maltzan Architecture 2017
Contrasting with the light-filled spaces for visual art in most of the building, the Studio Theater follows the tradition of the highly flexible “Black Box” space. In this case, however, the dominant color is a dark gray, which successfully differentiates the space from the standard black box. The room offers 150 seats in the most common configuration, though up to 199 seats can be accommodated. These seats can be arranged in a wide variety of settings, to foster multiple types of performances. In many cases, the 150 seats will face the front of the room, organized on retractable risers so as to provide excellent sight lines to the 45 feet (14 meters) wide and 20 feet (6 meters) deep stage.
The acoustical concept for the space centers on providing a commodious environment for as many performance types as possible. To that end, the largest possible volume for the site was assigned, with a ceiling height of 26 feet (8 meters) and overall dimensions of 46 feet (14 meters) wide and 62-3/4 feet (19 meters) long. The walls are partially covered with sound absorbing fiberglass panels, which double as tackable surfaces for the easy display of artwork. Sound absorbing panels suspended 20 inches (50 centimeters) below the ceiling further control the reverberation time, by introducing substantial broad-band and low-frequency absorption.
Running on three sides of the room, an acoustically transparent technical balcony provides more flexibility for easily accommodating theatrical equipment. The balcony is also prepared with adjustable curtains at the main floor level, to allow the space to comfortably host performances of amplified music. Curtains can also cover the front wall of the room.
<< Opening Festival >>
On February 24, 2017, Alison Weaver, the new director of the Moody Center for the Arts, opened the doors to the University and the Houston public. Several major installations have been prepared, including the first U.S. installation of Danish artist Olafur Eliasson’s “Green Light”, which addresses the refugee crisis by involving asylum seekers and other vulnerable individuals to create the work, sales of which will benefit refugee services. Also opening is a series of photographs by Thomas Struth in the large Skylight Gallery, now named the Brown Foundation Gallery, investigating technology and artificial landscapes. Reflecting the interdisciplinary goals of the new center, the Dusan Tynek Dance Theatre completed a week-long residency in the building, which culminated in a performance at the James Turrell “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace nearby on campus, set to a musical score composed by Kurt Stallmann, a professor at Rice’s Shepherd School of Music. Other installations by Diana Thater, Japanese collective teamLab, Google, and performances in collaboration with Rice’s departments of Visual and Dramatic Arts, Mathematics, and School of Music, and the installation of Mona Hatoum as the first artist-in-residence will provide an extremely broad program for the initial season of the new Center.
More information about the building and the programs presented can be found at https://moody.rice.edu
Nagata Acoustics Inc.
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Los Angeles, CA 90025
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