The screen of steel ribbons that completely surrounds the Nebuta House (a building in Aomori, Japan designed by molo and team – see project team at end of posting) is intended to give the building a unique identity as the mythical house of the Nebuta, which, to all who have had the opportunity to visit the Nebuta festival, are truly living creatures.
The first ideas of the screen came about from various experiences such as exploring the incredible Beech tree forest in Northern Japan – noticing the effects of ever-changing shadow and light through the layers of trunks. Other influences included seeing the woodblock prints of Hiroshige Ando and the effect of lines to depict screens; both man-made and from nature – ie parallel and skewed lines used to depict rainfall. In Japan the screen also is a way to blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor space as well as between indoor spaces or rooms. At first we began to explore how photographs of the beech forest might be manipulated and made into screens in materials like steel or glass.
Over time we began to abstract these qualities and turn them into lines. Further into the process the lines became ribbons and then we started looking at the ribbons being steel. The first models of the steel ribbons were made of paper and we began to explore a set of rules for how the ribbons would twist to create openings to provide directional light and views, as well as swept openings for passage through the screen.
Building models of the screen was also intended as a way to discover how the steel ribbon screen itself might be built. Over time we established a set of rules for the craftsmen as well as construction drawings (made by photographing the the final model of the complete set of screens). Further into this process of development we began to also realize that the screen would have the potential to camouflage recognizable elements of architecture (conventional doors, windows…)
Design Architect – molo
Local Project Architects + Construction Supervision – d/dt and Frank la Riviere Architects inc.
Structural Engineering – Kanebako Structural Engineers
Mechanical Engineering – PT Morimura & Associates, Ltd.
Acoustic Engineering – Nittobo Acoustic Engineering Co., Ltd.