Seeing these lovely winter images of Aomori Nebuta House, I could not help but miss the snow - need to get to the mountains stat - and this building's absence (or something similar) from Vancouver's architectural landscape. This lovely project was designed by Vancouver's own Molo Design - known here more so for their less permanent works such as Softwall and Cloud light.
After winning an international competition nearly a decade ago to design Nebuta House, they have been duly acknowledged internationally for their architecture this year as the building finally opened to visitors. Among the awards are International Architecture Award for Best New Global Design 2011, Perspective Excellence Award 2011, Design Vanguard 2010, and highly commended by venerable Architectural Review for Emerging Architecture 2011.
Aomori's Nebuta Festival is one of Japan's largest and is quite spectacular consisting of a procession of large and incredible lantern floats representing many spirits, gods, and heroes. Nebuta House exhibits five best from each year.
Although Molo Design winning competition entry was for a somewhat different program, the design was adjusted to its current intent. An external skin of twisted metal ribbons encloses a perimeter breezeway - not unlike traditional engawa. Besides giving the building its visual identity, it also mediates the sense of enclosure and filters the light. Where the external screen The light and shadow play give way to darkness within, recreating the nighttime condition that sets off the Nebuta Lanterns to their full advantage. The designers have handled the shadows so skillfully as a strategy.
It is a wonderful building - now can we have one like that in Vancouver? Architecture wanted....
All images are by Iwan Baan and Molo Design.