News 19-01 (No.373)
Issued : January 25, 2019
Miyako City’s “City Center Urban Base Complex” Opens
By Akira Ono
Eastpia-Miyako Layout and Location
Aerial View of Eastpia-Miyako Exterior
When the Great Tohoku Earthquake (also known as the Great East Japan Earthquake) struck Japan in 2011, the related tsunami inundated Iwate Prefecture’s Miyako City with waves that rose more than 10 m. (33 ft) high. The tsunami caused massive devastation in the city. The city hall was flooded up to its second floor, the city’s main health facility was entirely destroyed and the city’s other public buildings and facilities also sustained unrepairable damage.
Miyako City recognized that its pre-earthquake city infrastructure had left it vulnerable to the ravages of earthquakes. The city decided to rebuild its infrastructure so as to become “a compact municipality that can withstand future natural disasters”. In a time of natural disaster, the city believes its municipal facilities must necessarily serve as the hub and base facility for heightened disaster prevention and relief activities.
<< "Eastpia-Miyako" Overview >>
Miyako City’s City Center Urban Base Complex (popularly known as Eastpia-Miyako) realizes the city’s aim. It established an integrated, single complex of three wings, with each wing focused on a different function. One wing houses the city hall and municipal administration offices. One wing serves as the city’s main health center. The third wing has a cultural exchange center—a new addition to the city’s public facilities’ functionalities.
The site selection for the Eastpia-Miyako complex took into consideration a number of factors. One requirement was a location both convenient to transportation and at the center of the city. Also, the location needed to support the complex’s contributing to the revitalization of the city overall and the city center in particular. Another consideration was for the site to be a location that would be safe in the case of a future tsunami. To meet this requirement, the part of the city that flooded in 2011 was avoided and, instead, the city chose a previously unused site adjacent to the south side of JR Miyako Station.
Between the city’s existing main plaza in front of the North Entrance of JR Miyako Station and the second floor of the new Eastpia-Miyako complex, the project built an elevated walkway that will be kept open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for use by pedestrians. This “Cross Deck”, as it is named, makes it easy for the city’s residents to cross over the railroad tracks from one side of the city’s center to the other side.
The civic center wing of Eastpia-Miyako brings new functionality to the city. Before the earthquake, the publicly funded facilities in the city’s central area included only the city hall with its government administration offices and the health center. The new complex’s cultural exchange wing has a 200-seat multipurpose hall intended mostly for lectures and music performances, a music studio for theatrical and band performances, a sports gym, an enclosed space for children to play and a “Disaster Prevention Plaza”. In the Disaster Prevention Plaza, the city displays stories about people’s experiences and the dangers they overcame in the immediate aftermath of the Great Tohoku Earthquake, a history of local disasters that have occurred in Miyako City and the progress made by the city to rebuild after the 2011 earthquake.
Our acoustical design of the multipurpose hall and the music studio needed to take into consideration isolating sound that will be generated in these rooms from the governmental chambers and rooms in the city hall wing and the rooms in the health center. To meet the sound isolation specifications, in the multipurpose hall we adopted a noise and vibration isolating structural design. For the music studio, where we anticipate that, in particular, rock bands and Japanese drum musicians will generate large sound volumes, we used the box-in-box noise and vibration isolation structural design. The adoption of these designs successfully created sufficient sound isolation so that the multipurpose hall and music studio can be used at all times of day with almost no possibility of sound from these spaces being heard in the complex’s other spaces. The construction of multiuse complexes continues to be popular in Japan and the use of sound isolating structural designs enables spaces for cultural activities to be located adjacent to and in close proximity to rooms that have other purposes.
The Eastpia-Miyako City Center Urban Base Complex design and construction project was awarded through an RFP and proposal review process to a consortium of Kajima Corporation, JDC Corporation and Kume Sekkei Co., Ltd. Nagata Acoustics provided acoustical consulting services for the multipurpose hall, the music studio and the city hall chambers area of the complex.
<< The Increasing Use of Multipurpose Complexes in Japan >>
Lobby for Casual Gatherings
Covered Elevated Walkway
The Japanese government and the prime minister’s cabinet encourage new construction projects in the public sector to be designed as multi-use facilities and for facilities to be designed and built with greater compactness that increases the utilization of a site’s available space. By combining multiple functions or facilities into a single complex, the use of land can be economized and the costs of maintenance and other operational costs can also be conserved, so it’s clear that there are economic benefits to this policy. In parts of the country that have endured natural disasters, and If we think about the best approach to public facilities’ design in parts of the country that are recovering from a natural disaster, we must also consider that these locales typically have both an aging population and limited funding. Therefore, the economic impact of a new facility must be taken into consideration in addition to other requirements and objectives. Integrated, multipurpose facilities take these factors into consideration as templates and models for this kind of rebuilding effort.
Another—not specifically economic—benefit of multi-use complexes is that they bring together a diversity of people in a single place. A person who comes to a government office to process some documents may be intrigued by the cultural activities that drew other people to the facility. Or perhaps a person visiting the facility for another purpose learns news of a sports or cultural event or class, or sees that there is something happening at the health center that will be of benefit in daily life. Because the various functions of the complex are all in the same location, the people of Miyako City now have more opportunities to increase their connections with other people and become involved in local activities. In this way, an integrated complex offers community-building benefits that a standalone civic hall does not provide. These benefits are in addition to the expected economic savings.
From this perspective, it is not only the accomplishment of building a complex in one, integrated location that is important. Equally important are the aspects of the complex—such as operations and activity planning—that are not part of the initial capital expenditure. By bringing three key functions together in one place, and through the promotion of cultural activities, Eastpia-Miyako can proactively bring together and support interaction among people in the region’s community who would otherwise stay discrete and unconnected. This will benefit the city’s residents in addition to the complex’s role of being a city center urban base ready to serve the community in times of emergencies.
<< Restoration of Miyako City’s Famous Jodogahama Beach >>
Miyako City’s Jodogahama Beach is part of Sanriku Fukko National Park (formerly Rikuchu-Kaigan National Park). The park’s new name includes the word “fukko” meaning “restoration”, in reference to the park’s restoration after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The beach is a 10-minute drive by car from the city center’s JR Miyako Station. At the seashore, the edges of rhyolite volcanic rock are sharply sculpted by many years’ exposure to the elements and the tall stone formations rise like trees to form an impressive seascape. After the disaster of 2011, the Japan Ministry of the Environment, together with the local government and residents collaborated to restore the beach, achieving incredible results.
Immediately after the Great Tohoku Earthquake, Jodogahama Park Hotel became an evacuation site for earthquake survivors whose homes had been destroyed. Survivors stayed in the hotel for a full month after the earthquake and, in addition, the hotel provided accommodation for police who came to the area to work on rescue teams. At the height of the rescue work some 500 police stayed at the hotel and the hotel also housed medical teams for nine months following the disaster.
Now, whenever someone mentions the Jodogahama Park Hotel to a Miyako City resident who survived the earthquake, the next topic of conversation becomes the story of the hotel’s charitable contribution to the urgent lodging need of many people after the disaster. Gladly, the city says that the number of hotel guests has increased up to 95% of full occupancy rate. I wholeheartedly encourage our readers to visit the rebuilt Miyako City and enjoy the region’s beautiful ocean scenery.
More information and photos of Sanriku Fukko National Park can be seen at this website: https://www.env.go.jp/en/nature/nps/park/sanriku/guide/view.html
Auditorium Acoustics 2018 Conference at Elbphilharmonie
By Dr. Keiji Oguchi
Institute of Acoustics 2018 Conference Program Cover
Presentation Screen and AV Operation Console
Poster Session at Rear of Kleiner saal
Four months ago, for three days starting on October 4, 2018, the UK’s Institute of Acoustics held its Auditorium Acoustics 2018 Conference at Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany. This international conference is organized from time to time when a new concert hall or opera house has opened, rather than according to a predetermined and set calendar. A feature of each conference is that it includes touring the new venue and listening to a performance there as well as professional presentations and poster sessions.
The Institute of Acoustics first held this conference in 1995, the year following the opening of the Glyndebourne Opera House. After that first conference, the institute held conferences at venues in the UK and in the major European cities of Copenhagen, Paris, etc. The 2018 event was the 10th international conference held by the institute.
As we reported in our February, 2017 newsletter, Elbphilharmonie opened in January, 2017 and quickly become a new landmark in Hamburg, gaining laudatory and sustained attention and a constant stream of visitors. The two halls that are Elbphilharmonie’s main attractions continue to sell out tickets both for concerts held there and also for observation tours of the halls. With these conditions as the backdrop, the conference drew 200 attendees of primarily acoustical consultants and researchers representing 32 countries.
More than 80 presenters registered to participate in the conference. The presentations included talks with slides and more academic and technical discussions. There were also poster sessions. Yasuhisa Toyota, Marc Quiquerez and I attended for Nagata Acoustics. We gave two presentations with slides, one on the design of Elbphilharmonie’s Großer Saal and one on our use of a 1:10 scale model as part of the acoustical testing phase of our design process.
<< The Conference’s Use of the Kleiner Saal >>
The tiered steps for seating in the Elbphilharmonie Kleiner Saal can be stored in the hall’s rear wall so that the hall can also be used as a flat-floor space. The purpose of this design is to maximize the kinds of events that can be held in the hall. The Auditorium Acoustics 2018 conference used this hall in its flat-floor configuration as the conference venue. A screen was deployed at the front of the hall and a presentation lectern was made available there. Chairs were set up in the center portion of the hall and the poster session exhibition took place in the rear part of the hall.
Our room acoustics design for this hall equipped it with vertically retractable sound-absorbing curtains at the front and both of side walls of the hall. During the conference, the curtains remained retracted, meaning that the room had its longest possible reverberation time during the presenters’ talks. The conference organizers and the hall arranged the event’s AV system with a portable sound console set up behind the attendee seating in the center of the hall. The quality, clarity and naturalness of the amplified presenters’ voices sounded perfect. Experiencing this excellent setup made me think there is much to be learned from the local meister system that resulted in such an expert level of technical AV operation.
<< Topics Discussed in Conference Papers >>
The papers presented at the conference included a diverse assortment of topics including an evaluation of audience and stage acoustics, design modeling methods with examples, concert hall and opera house case studies, and so on. There were two topics that drew my attention, which related greatly to the characteristics of the Elbphilharmonie Großer Saal. One was about the comparative pros and cons of different concert hall shapes, especially on shoe-box style and surrounding styles, and the other was about acoustic function of textures used on walls and ceilings in concert halls.
The former topic discussed the disadvantages and advantages of shoebox vs. surround hall configurations based solely on their shapes. One author who presented this topic acknowledged that in the 21st century surround shape concert halls have been opening in quick succession, but he posited that the traditional shoebox configuration is a superior configuration from the acoustics and many other perspectives. On the other hand, other author suggested that studies of qualities on concert hall acoustics have not sufficiently considered evaluation from audiences’ concert hall experiences. Inside a hall, subjective impression may be judged differently depending on where you sit, who the performers are, or what is the work being performed, so I have some doubts whether these can be discussed based solely on the shape of a hall.
The latter showed the comparison of the sizes of sound diffusing shapes in various halls with sizes of parts of the human body. A presenter used color coding to show the correspondences, some halls were colorful, and some halls were in monotone, which means diffusing shapes in those halls were not very various. When the author referred to the Elbphilharmonie Großer Saal, she did not consider the complexity of diffusing surfaces formed by the walls of the audience seating blocks that surround the stage as evidenced by her use of monotone images for the hall.
I was interesting to see that some research papers focused on the efficacy of EDT (early decay time). Validity of EDT had been discussed since the early days of history on evaluating acoustic quality of auditoria. Conversely, I wish there had been presentations about the relationship of human binaural hearing and hall acoustics. That no-one presented on this topic left me wondering if the professional community considers that it has been adequately investigated.
<< Großer Saal Observation Tour and Rehearsal Performance >>
On the morning of April 6—the last day of the conference—attendees were invited to attend a tour of the interior of the Elbphilharmonie Großer Saal and listen to a rehearsal in the hall. This activity was the highlight of the conference. During the tour the attendees asked us many questions, including about details such as how the sound-diffusing elements were shaped and constructed and the acoustical purpose of the grid system at the rear of the stage.
Minutes before a Rehearsal Starts in Elbphilharmonie Großer Saal
After the walkthrough in the Großer Saal, we listened to Maestro Kent Nagano and the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra perform their final rehearsal of Charles Ives’ Symphony No. 4 as they prepared for their second concert of 2018/2019 season in the hall. However it was unfortunate that the conference attendees did not have the opportunity to experience a performance by the hall's resident orchestra, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, playing what we would consider a more standard orchestra configuration making use of the Großer Saal’s electronically operated, configurable stage risers.
I wish to express my appreciation to the conference organizers for focusing the conference on Elbphilharmonie Hall. The conference was informative and inspiring and I’m still thinking about some of the topics discussed more than half a year after it ended.
Auditorium Acoustics 2018 Conference web page:
Links to papers:
Nagata Acoustics Inc.
Hongo Segawa Bldg. 3F, 2-35-10 Hongo
Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
Tel: +81-3-5800-2671, Fax: +81-3-5800-2672
1990 S. Bundy Drive, Suite 795
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tel: +1-310-231-7878, Fax: +1-310-231-7816
75, avenue Parmentier
Tel: +33 (0)1 40 21 44 25, Fax: +33 (0)1 40 21 24 00