[Please click on the picture to enlarge]

Client : Oranda-Jima Foundation
Location : Yamada-machi, Japan

Program : After-School House, Community Center

Plot Area : 713 sqm

Built Area : 210 sqm

Status : Build
Photography : Josh Lieberman
Winner of “Silver A’Design Award 2015” in the category of Architecture, Building, and Structure Design

Yamada-machi is a town located on the central coastline of  Iwate prefecture in the north of Japan.
After a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit the town on 11 March 2011, a foundation called Orandajima Foundation was established which offered to design and build a facility where children would have a place to play, heal and come together. Following extensive consultations with the local authorities, it was proposed in February 2012 to establish an after-school house and community centre.
The Foundation is named after the island where in 1643 a Dutch ship, called The ‘Breskens’ landed in the Bay of Yamada. This island was called 'Oranda-jima ('Holland Island')  350 years after the  ‘Breskens’ stranded there.
The program asked for a flexible building of approximately 200 square meters to accommodate about 60 children.

Located on a hill, safe from future tsunami’s, the wooden building stands as a simple, silent structure. We have designed building from the inside out aiming for an immersive experience by the young users.  Through the use of contrast in scale, a variety  in textural materials and other subtle detailing we believe that there is a certain depth in the space  that goes beyond the visual. Great care has been given in the way natural light enters the interior spaces.  On the west side of the house we have placed another polycarbonate window. Behind this window are trees and the setting sun will cast play-full shadows of these trees on this translucent panel, not unlike a Japanese rice paper screen.
Through this window, during certain periods of the year, the light of dusk will bathe the main room in hazy orange for a short period of time. The hope is that this harnessing of light will stir a contextual sensitivity within the users.