Toyo Ito and Design Understanding
Sendai Mediatheque is a library in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan. The architect of the building is the Korean architect Toyo Ito. Ito is one of the pioneers of conceptual architecture. This type of architecture, which consists of ideas, texts, diagrams or artistic installations, should be the most used concept for the art of Ito, which is formed by searching for new conditions and forms. Ito, who tries to create self-improvement, mind and viewpoints with the self-confidence of being able to do better in every new project, sums up her career with the words “I will never have a certain style, I will not have a single style specific to me and I will not be fully satisfied with my work”
Sendai Mediatheque Structure Design Decisions
The Sendai Mediatheque project was announced with a competition organized by the city administration of Sendai. In the competition specifications, the project is referred to as, an intellectual new area of urban function such as sensory art, books for the new age.
In this design, Ito breaks down taboos with different characteristics between space, structure and form. By incorporating current living standards into design, it has demonstrated a work that has never been done by using digital technologies. The project includes library, internet rooms, DVD areas, gallery and cafe functions. Ito, which is required to be fully open to the public, has connected this with the transparency of the structure. He created a structure that allows the city to look through wide frames. When we started with the design, we didn’t want to have the inner and outer distinction, like the building forms we were used to like beams, walls, rooms and a combination of them. He put his attitude towards accepted architectural rules. In line with these goals, Toyo Ito used the aquarium element as a metaphor on the way to unite the interior and exterior with soft and fluid lines. The architecture of the building consists of carriers extending from the ground floor to the last floor, which resembles a plant in the aquarium. This structure contains many different functions. Instead of separating the different functions from each other with sharp lines, they provide space changes with furniture and fluidize the transitions, and do not interrupt the user’s travel within the building.
Ito starts to work with Mutsuro Sasaki, the construction engineer he works with on most projects, by sending his first sketches of ideas on the competition.
A new structural theory was necessary for this new structure typology of Ito. The proposed new structure model consists of three basic components called plaque, tube and skin.
13 different shaped and function tubes made of small section steel pipes pass through square plates. We can describe this method as an interpretation of classical column laying logic. This structure, which can be solved by thin sections at the point where steel technology comes from, has provided the aesthetics and fluidity desired by the designer.
Apart from its structural task, there are some functions such as circulation between floors. The other 9 tubes are; structurally working horizontal forces to provide light, air, sound and communication flow.
The plates are honeycomb steel slabs. In the places where they are connected with the tubes, honeycomb floors are emptied and in some places the pattern deteriorates to keep up with the special structure of the tubes.
This distortion in the pattern is in fact a structured structural design. The current pattern of the honeycomb slab is converted into a shape to make the load transfer to be transferred to each other at the point where they are connected with the tubes. The contribution of the steel material to this harmony created by the plates (slabs) connected to the lattice tube columns is undeniable. Steel material is used for connecting tube and plates which serve different functions. A steel thin section is accompanied by a tube where the tube is connected with the plate.
Different geometry of the tubes and the details of the flow formed in the joints with the plates; It has a supportive effect on the structure in absorbing the earthquake loads. The structurally undamaged construction of the Kobe earthquake in 2005 and the 8.9 magnitude of the Tohoku earthquake in the Sendai region in 2011 proves that a successful construction solution has been made.
The façade representing the façade provides the interior and exterior of the building. However, as we have mentioned at the beginning of the article, Ito does not want the structure to have a separation between the interior and the exterior, but it prefers the preservation of the fluidity here. Therefore, the transparency of the main facade element; it emphasizes the inner life and the fluidity of the user movements between the floors.
The structure of the plan is prepared by the open plan logic and described by Ito as: “structured space with tubes and plaques. “In the case of Sendai Mediatheque, which is a concrete proof that technically difficult spatial effects can be solved by architect-engineer cooperation; From the very beginning, the continuity and fluidity targeted at the design and implementation stages were made possible by transferring the design criteria and testing their structural and spatial counterparts.