See Sea Park: Traditionally Modern Magic in Fukui

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Project Highlights

Official Project Name: See Sea Park

Location: 1-8-5 Narumi,Ohi-town,Ohi-gun,Fukui Prefecture, Japan
Award won: WAF 2023 (Best Use of Natural Light)
Architect Name: Osamu Morishita Architect and Associates

Principal Architect: Osamu Morishita

Design team: Osamu Morishita, David Carmona, Bryan Reinhard, Kotone Fukuda, Keita Chuma, Maki Yamashita, Shohei Uto, Kento Niwa, Tomoya Sugiura/Sugiura Architects

Structure: Satoshi Okamura/KAP
MEP Consultant: Kenchiku Setsubi Sekkei Kenkyusho
General contractor: Araki
Photographer: Tomoki Hahakura

In a quaint town nestled in the heart of Fukui prefecture, Japan, Osamu Morishita Architect and Associates bring to life the captivating See Sea Park. This visionary project, conceptualized and completed between Summer 2019 and 2022, emerged triumphant in a competition hosted by Ohi-town. The primary objective was to create a space that fosters innovation and new business ventures, a place where community, culture, and commerce seamlessly converge.

Reimagining Tradition in a Modern Canvas

See Sea Park draws inspiration from the historic Chinju-no-Mori, the forest surrounding shrines, transforming its essence into a contemporary masterpiece. Unlike conventional closed spaces, the architects envisioned an expansive horizontal ground beneath floating clouds, creating a space that unfolds with diversity and order.

The design aims to evoke a sense of spatial density reminiscent of rural village life, where private houses accumulate organically. The architecture harmonizes with the topography, creating an impressive yet timeless place that resonates with the local community.

Innovative Architectural Elements

The buildings incorporate a sustainable approach, absorbing and storing solar energy while releasing heat intermittently. Echoing traditional Japanese homes, the architects designed “units” inspired by the concept of tiled or thatched roofs, comprising transparent ETFE (fluoropolymer film) covering air masses.

These 72 cube-shaped units, supported by 15 tree pillars, form an arch-like truss structure, allowing space below to breathe with vitality. The architecture facilitates not only the flow of air but also cultural exchanges, connecting people and perceptions.

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Open Environment and Energy Flow

See Sea Park defies conventional energy-saving norms by adopting an open and gentle environment. The basic structure of the “unit” embraces air, creating a flexible truss supporting a large, interconnected space. Energy efficiency is achieved through insulation only on the vertical edges of the earthen floor, directly transmitting energy from the earth.

In the atrium, energy is harnessed from a well drilled 100 meters underground, transferred to rainwater storage, and utilized for floor heating and cooling. This unique approach ensures a sustainable energy flow that complements the surrounding natural elements.

Bridging Tradition with Modern Comfort

Beneath the floating units, people gather and engage in community activities, enjoying a sense of freedom and connection. The architecture, reminiscent of old folk houses, features an earth floor and a large roof that facilitates airflow. The square roof, crafted from cedar wood, creates a comforting and calming environment for warm community gatherings.

As night falls, the collection of units transforms into a mesmerizing display of twinkling lights, attracting visitors from the nearby region and beyond. See Sea Park evolves into a dynamic hub of events and activities, seamlessly blending into the lives of the local community.

See Sea Park: A Living Organism in the Sky

Viewed from above, See Sea Park resembles the cells of a living creature, contributing to a sustainable organization akin to metropolitan urbanization. It stands as a testament to the seamless integration of tradition and modernity, inviting people to experience a harmonious blend of architectural innovation and community warmth.

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