SUGANUMA GASSHO VILLAGE VISITOR CENTRE
Kamitaira-Mura, Toyama Prefecture, Japan 1999 World Heritage Site
Toyama Prefecture and Kamitaira-Mura with Yasuhiro Shibata, GA Associates
"It should be a hidden, buried building." These were more or less the words of Architect Suichi Fujie when he kindly offered us to design the Visitor Pavilion to the Siganuma Gassho-Villag in Kamitaira-mura.
The pavilion is a space for the visitors coming to the Gassho-ViIlage. Particular attention has been devoted in protecting the Iife and daily activites of the Gassho residents form being bothered by frequent visits (which have since increased). Access to parts of the village have been strictly regulated and limitad to certain hours.
Within the pavilion, the visitors are instructed through a small exhibiton and lectura on the customs of the Gassho community, of how they have livod and continue to Iive in to natura and agricultura.
The exterior gate is indicated by two large ancient Gassho beams that rotate about an axis to announce when the pavilion is open or closed. A ramp and a set fo staris separte the building from the rice fields above and give access tot teconstructed Gassho.
How distinctly different it is to be able to work near your home, where you are able to frequently visit and make corrections to the project on the site compared to how difficult it is to do this 10,000 kilometers away.In any case, our experience in Toyama has been full of memorable moments with our Japanese collaborators, and with the residents and authorities.
When we sea the photos of the pavilion we think of how Japanese the bufding seems to us, though to Fujie, he sees ft more Gaudiesque.
The new construction part of the landscape maintaining the grass-covered roof, but at the same time to have i understood as a building.
The roof became anundulating form like a small artifical grassy knoll. The pavilion is a wall incrusted with stones arrange freely, evoking the Gassho retaining walls mad.
The roof is an undulating ceiling of the lilie hills an humps that from the outside indioate the presence of the the taller sapce of the entrance and exhibition room where a model of he Gassho is show.