When the earthquake hit Japan at the beginning of this year, it hit hard. The country, as well as the world, was left reeling as a natural disaster domino effect pummelled the country, with the damage levels piling.
As with all natural disaster, once the dust has settled, it is easy to forget the realities of these cataclysmic events if not constantly reminded. While there has been much talk about the resignation of the country’s Minister for Disaster Reconstruction, and further fears of radiation threats, a major focus has simply not been placed on the devastation and still apparent fallout.
There can be no arguing the destruction of the earthquake, but due to the incredibly stringent and advanced building codes, much more damage was caused by the following tsunami.
A major positive action response to this reality is Endo Shuhei Architecture Institute’s Looptecture F. The building plays a key role as the Osakaregions’ Tsunami Disaster Control Centre; therefore it must be able to stand up to some pretty extreme weather conditions in order to function at its greatest time of need.
This two-story, 375.6 sqm building is completely made out of steel with a rusted copper coloured exterior. It sits on stilts with a floor level that is higher than predicted tsunami water levels. The cylindrical building is separated into two rounded sections that have been designed as such so that the force of an impinging wave of water would be pushed around the buildings, causing less impact by dispersing the overall stress placed on the structure.
The main level of the building is on the second floor for further rising water protection. The height of the building acts as a safeguard as well as offers a greater view of the entirety of the port. Small porthole windows look out of the bay and a winding staircase leads to the rooftop garden, or green roof.
The use of the building is simply not aesthetic, or even just to weaken a tsunami impact. The designers have been adamant about using this unusual and innovative building as a learning tool for tourists and residents, as well as a disaster relief location. It has been their main goal to not only protect residents and tourists, by to educate them.
After recent controversies, the centre is a very strong movement forward in Japan. It is important for a strong society to have a strong industry backing, especially in terms of resilience construction. It is clear that Japan will be making extreme steps that, like their highly advanced building code, will stand up to future natural disasters.