Hoshakuji Station is located in Takanezawa, in the Tochigi Prefecture, 80 miles north of Tokyo. To connect the east and west sides of the town of Takanezawa, which had been divided by the railroad, Kuma opened the east exit of the station giving access to Chokkura Plaza and Shelter, also designed by Kuma, on the eastern side.
Having decided to preserve an abandoned rice storage house constructed of Ooya stone Kuma used the “pores” in the Oya stone in the new structural system, in which steel frame and Ooya stone are combined diagonally, and added the system to the warehouse. He then extended the diagonal skin to the other “pore” or “aperture,” the station. This not only linked the station’s east and west exits, but also the station and its location.
|Our emphasis was that by creating “pores,” things could be pulled together and restore the community that had been long fragmented.|
In order to reduce the weight lauan-made plywood was used for the structure instead of Oya stone. By using wood Kuma revived the warm atmosphere station buildings used to have and, at the same time, connected the station building to the landscape of paddy fields and wooden houses in the town of Takanezawa.
The timber soffit, suspended on steel hangers, creates a varied spatial experience. The ceiling depth is shallow on the upper concourse, which creates a lofty space, where as the ceiling drops at the edges and base of the stairs to create an enclosure.
|Since it is a station building used by many people, we paid extra attention to prevent fall-down of the plywood, with each diamond bolted in four parts to the steel beams supporting the roof.|
Ooya stone is unique and has all the softness of soil. The softest, brownest part of the stone, known as “miso”, is the product of soil remaining inside the stone. It is a particularly porous stone because it is full of holes.
To come up with an advanced technique for using this material, Kuma and a team of engineers researched a diagonal form of construction consisting of a steel basket attached to a rod of the same material. This ensured that stone would not be simply a cladding material but contribute to creation of the building’s structural skeleton.