Building of the Month (April)

Our April publication is Bill Hunt’s drawing of Diawa Ubiquitous Computational Centre – University of Tokyo.

Architect: Kengo Kuma (Kengo Kuma and Associates)

Date: 2014

Location: Tokyo

Size: 2,700m2 


Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and Professor of Architecture at Tokyo University, has garnered numerous international awards for his buildings.  He is also a prolific writer of architectural books, one of which is titled ‘Anti-Object’, more later.

The Diawa Ubiquitous Computational Centre is located on the main Tokyo University site and borders on parkland that forms part of the campus.  Kuma commented on the initial design ethos:

 “Our aim was to break away from the conventional image of campuses that consist of hard materials such as concrete, metal or stone, and to instead design a soft building made with wood and earth.”

The building has 3 upper floors and two basement floors. The building is clad in cedar strips forming a ‘layered rippling’ skin with perforations revealing glazing providing daylight to the interior.  The wall facing onto the parkland is made of earth and installed by a Japanese master crafts man.  Kuma wanted the wall to reflect the nature of the surrounding park.

The building houses research and teaching facilities along with galleries and lecture/seminar rooms, a main auditorium and indoor and outdoor breakout spaces for staff and students including a café on the ground floor..

An intelligent building management system was installed which features an array of sensors which monitor wind speed, radiation, particulate matter, temperature, humidity and many other factors. The data is recorded and uploaded to a network and can be used for a variety of purposes in the so-called “Internet of Things.

Notes and comments:

  • ‘Anti-Object – the Dissolution and Disintegration of Architecture’ 2008, a treatise which argues against objectification where the ‘object’ is a work of architecture that is expressly cut off from its environment. Objects are not exclusive to an architectural style, but has objectification has been central to western architecture?
  • Kengo Kuma influencers – from Immanuel Kant to Bruno Taut.