Two Subsuming Lines and Two Axis Lines
The site is on low ground, without view of the ocean, below a 12.5-meter-high seawall that extends four kilometers along the coast. I began by drawing a “large subsuming line” encompassing the ruins scattered in a broad prefectural park, then created a large and gentle landscape to heal the pain and trauma of the natural disaster. Next, within the large subsuming line, I drew a “small subsuming line” encompassing the memorial area site managed by the national government.
When the memorial area is viewed in this way, an axis line extending to the ocean naturally presents itself. This axis, which intersects with the seawall in its extension to the heart of beautiful Hirota Bay, I established as a “Axis of Pray”. Then, with the neighboring quake disaster ruins, “Tapic 45”, as a starting point, I established a “Axis of Recovery” as an axis passing from the “Memorial Museum” to the “Road Station”.
A gate welcomes people to the facility, at the intersection of the “Axis of Pray” and “Axis of Recovery.” Here, I wanted to create a strong space able to alter people’s state of mind. Establishing a pool where the two lines of axis cross, I placed an opening overhead for the entry of sunlight, thereby establishing a third axis extending to the sky. Beyond, on the “Axis of Pray” extending to the ocean, I established a ceremonial plaza and, farther beyond, a “Floral tribute spot” at the plaza’s head and a “Sea view spot” atop the seawall.
A dominant theme in the building’s realization was creating a 160-meter-long façade with a minimum degree of error. By devoting care to the accuracy of the factory-made precast concrete panels and using laser measurement in site construction methods, we were able to realize this ultra-long façade with an accuracy of ±1 mm. The 18,434 holes placed in the façade represent the number of quake victims officially announced as of 2018. This white façade—a symbol of the “Axis of Recovery”—quietly expresses feelings of mourning and remembrance.
The “Axis of Pray” converses with “feelings of reconciliation between people and nature.” The “Axis of Recovery,” passing from the earthquake ruins to the Michi-no-Eki (Rest Stop), converses with “feelings of reconciliation between the deceased (the past) and the living who must carry on (the future).” These thoughts are invested in the two lines of axis.