E-JUST - Perspective


Okayama West Police Station

1993 - 1996

Okayama, Japan


Site Area: 18,670 sqm

Building Area: 3,584 sqm

Total Floor Area: 7,045 sqm

The Okayama West Police Station is divided into two separate buildings, one arranged in front of the other. Each building is made up of four cubical units that are 16 meters to a side. These cubic units are clad in different materials. The boxlike building in the rear accommodates police facilities that are not open to the public. The four units making up this rear building are clad in zinc panels. The joints, placed 33 centimeters apart, appear even over the windows. The vertical ribs are a substitute for the bars that are ordinarily installed. The hill behind this building was a quarry for granite called Mannari stone. Mannari stone is pink with speckles. Japanese with a taste for quiet elegance have long liked the subtle colors of this stone. However, the quarry was abandoned when it could no longer produce large enough blocks of the granite. It was decided to use small pieces of Mannari stone collected from this quarry as aggregate in precast concrete. The precast concrete is employed in the building open to the public, in the checkerboard pattern on the facade, on curved surfaces such as those in stairwells and on the floors.
Two box-shaped blocks, each measuring 16 meters by 16 meters by 64 meters, are simply placed next to each other. The front building is divided into two parts, one representing "fiction" and the other "reality." The part representing "reality" is itself divided in two; one half is covered with a checkerboard pattern and the other half is enveloped in glass. The half that is enveloped in glass is itself divided; the upper portion is translucent and the lower portion is transparent. The building volume is thus repeatedly divided in two. Any building having a certain volume inevitably possesses a contour or outline. The intention here was to transform this outline from something definite to something indeterminate and provisional through repeated dichotomy.