Tetsuo Kobori



Daiwa House Group MIRAI KACHI KYOSO Center

Daiwa House Group MIRAI KACHI KYOSO Center
  • Location : Nara, Japan
  • Year : 2021
  • Category : Laboratory with Meeting Hall
  • Structure : Steel Frame
  • Architect : DAIWA HOUSE INDUSTRY CO., LTD.+Fujita Corporation+Tetsuo Kobori Architects
  • Disaster Management : Fujita Corporation
  • Lighting : Sawada Lighting Design & Analysis Inc.
  • Landscape Design : Nikken Sekkei Ltd
  • Furniture : DesignArc Co., Ltd.
  • Biophilic Design : Pasona Panasonic Business Service Co., Ltd.
  • Display and Information Media : TOPPAN INC.
  • Learningscape : Nobuyuki Ueda
  • Workshop : Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts
  • Workshop Research : Shiro Yoshida+Koji Sugimoto
  • Graphic Recording : Glagrid Inc.
  • Construction : DAIWA HOUSE INDUSTRY CO., LTD.
  • Photographer : Shinkenchiku-sha

Creating a Kaisho of Our Time: A New Meeting Place

This project was implemented at the request of Mr. Takeo Higuchi, Chief Advisor (current Chairman) of Daiwa House Group, who said, “We need a hall to pass on and disseminate the spirit of our Founder.” Three training centers across Japan were consolidated in Nara, a place deeply associated with the Founder, to create a place to nurture new human resources for the future of the Daiwa House Group, which currently has approximately 49,000 employees. 

We started by thinking about the significance of a place for people gather together in a rapidly changing and unpredictable society, what it means to gather, and to learn together. Three workshops were held in total during the design phase, with members from across the entire Daiwa House Group, to incorporate opinions and ideas of many people who would be using this facility.

Based on the keywords emerged from the workshop sessions, we decided that this concept for this facility would be “mori no kaisho,” or a “meeting place in the forest.” The “forest” refers to the Yoshino forest, the birthplace of the Founder, as well as its beautiful landscape of light, wind, and water that nurtures an abundant eco system, while “kaisho” refers to a place for cultural exchange and communication in the Muromachi period where people from different social classes would sit in a circle and compose traditional renga and waka poetry. Drawing inspiration from these, we came up with the idea of creating a place that would serve as a modern-day kaisho, where people can gather, inspire and influence each other.

Memories of the Land from 1300 Years Ago

The site is located at the intersection of Kujo-oji and Higashi-Sanbo-Bokanro of Heijo-kyo, the ancient capital of Japan, and an archeological survey of buried cultural properties prior to the construction unearthed the remains of settlements and dwellings from approximately 1300 years ago. When we visited the site, we were deeply impressed by the sight of the remains of wells, building foundations, and pillars. The landscape confirmed our conviction that the essence of human gathering will never change, and that the memories of the land should be passed on to the future.

During the design workshop, keywords emerged, including “connecting endlessly” and “continuously evolving and growing like a living organism,” and by combining these keywords and the idea of passing on the memories of the land, we conceived the idea of an organic architecture that looks as if it were rising from the earth. We also looked into the possibility of preserving the soil removed for the excavation and using it to finish exterior walls, and conducted on-site testing of mixtures and mock-ups. In the landscaping and interior of the building, the lines and joints of the pavement were designed to reflect the former configuration of the streets and pillars of the buildings of Kujo and evoke the memories of the land.

Harmony of the Three Elements: Wind, Sun, and Water

In order to give the building a sense of scale that allows people to feel connected to each other, the 230m-long site was largely segmented into three sections, namely “wind,” “sun,” and “water,” which constitute the building. This idea was inspired by the phrase “wind, sun, and water,” which was set forth by the Founder as his vision for the enterprise in the twenty-first century.

The Sun Hall, a space open 360 degrees to allow natural light, with a capacity of 500 people, the Wind Patio, a place for conversation through dining, and the Water Salon, a place to learn the Founder’s philosophy and reflect on oneself, are interconnected by circulation routes that intertwine like a Möbius loop, creating organic and continuous spaces that imposes no restrictions on human activities.

The first and second floors of the training area are continuously connected by slopes. All areas, centered around the training space called Studio, are open and can be used as connected spaces. Trainees can see each other’s training sessions, and the loose overlapping of their activities creates an environment where they can mutually inspire and stimulate each other. In the open spaces, furniture and other elements are placed throughout to provide opportunities for people to gather, and all areas can be used for training and interaction. The slope spaces can be used for exhibitions and other media functions to inspire visiting employees.

The third and fourth floors are accommodation zones, and the “master living room,” where trainees can get together after training and share their enthusiasm, is located above the Sun Hall and connected to it by an atrium. Trainees are led from the master living room to six “cabins” where they can talk in small groups to consolidate their learning, and then to individual booths for sleeping.

From the reception area ” located in the Water Salon on the third floor, you can see the mountains and Todaiji Temple, and get a sense of the horizon of Yamato Lake, which originally stretched across the ancient Nara Basin. The idea was to create a place where employees can have discussions with their colleagues, and draw a grand vision for the future, while feeling the temporal axis connecting the past, present and future.

It is our hope that this facility named Daiwa House Group MIRAI KACHI KYOSO Center “Kotokurie”  will serve as a place of co-education, co-creation, and co-existence for developing new human resources for the new era, where various people can bring their ideas through activities including educational support for children who will lead the future, and collaboration with local companies and municipalities.