Datong Theater - Construction Site


Nara Centennial Hall

1992 - 1998

Nara, Japan

Cultural Facility

Site Area: 18,062 sqm

Building Area: 6,416 sqm

Total Floor Area: 22,683 sqm

Official Web Site

The site of Centennial Hall is a triangle of land bounded two by streets oriented north-south and east-west and by a third street running parallel to a railway. The proposed scheme was an ellipse in plan, with the long axis parallel to the ancient north-south axis of Nara. To acknowledge the angle of the railway line, the wall of the structure was "swung open" as a welcoming gesture to pedestrians approaching from the station via the pedestrian deck.
The facilities are a convention hall with a capacity of about 1,800 persons, a concert hall with a capacity of about 500 persons and various auxiliary rooms.
The exterior is clad in newly-produced tiles of the same color as traditional pan-tiles. This creates continuity with the temples in Nara, despite the curvature of the building's clothoidal form.
The convention hall is multipurpose. We proposed That the stage be made movable, so as to make possible various different relationships between the performers and the audience. The small 500-seat concert hall is intended for performances by a small orchestra or a chamber-music ensemble. The acoustics are designed specifically for musical performances. The hall is located on the second floor, with dressing rooms and the office located underneath it. The inside of the double-layered glass box is slanted in random fashion to reflect sounds in a suitable way. The space between the glass box and the outer shell of the building, which is illuminated by controlled natural light, is used as a foyer and cafe. Visitors are able to get a sense of the entire space from there.