Fishing Museum Shima

Hiroshi Naito

Subject | Our modern age with its digital concept of time saps architecture's energy; for the very essence of architecture corresponds to an analogue notion of time. That is Hiroshi Naito's view. For him, the greatest handicap of modern thinking is that time is excluded as a continuum, that time is only regarded as digital - fragmented and liable to manipulation that the objects of the physical world are no longer permitted to age and fade away in accordance with the passage of time. Today, structures are only perceived as snapshots in their just-com-pleted state - a momentary record without any timescale. Naito's architecture rebuffs this attitude. He attempts to include the concept of time in his designs by taking into account modern production methods, the changing demands in terms of function, and the ageing processes of the building materials.

Design | The Fishing Museum in Shima was intended to house and display about 20 ooo tools used in the traditional fishing industry in the Shima region. Naito's idea was to find an "archetype" comparable to the forms of the tools exhibited; these forms grew out of the tension between the need to fulfil a function and the regularity of natural laws. The result was highly efficient and suitably durable articles. Naito says that the number of possible designs for structures planned for only a short life can be infinite. However, if they are intended to serve for longer periods, then the number of possible alternatives decreases in proportion, finally ending in just one archetype. The Fishing Museum conveys the controversial relationship between the tough coastal climate, the exhibition programme, the tight budget, the layout considerations and the design time. By analysing the individual problems and approaching them uncompromisingly, Naito was able to develop a building which comes close to the ever more simplified archetype. From the outside the exhibition halls appear very simple; from the inside they suggest to the visitor the framing of an upturned ship's hull, the shape and material creating a feeling of safety. A strip of light enters from above, through the "keel"; at the bottom, a continuous band of windows admits light and landscape. Naito is not driven by nostalgia but rather by a deep desire to find a mythical architecture with a legitimacy for our society.


1731-68, Ogitsu Uramura-cho Toba-shi, Shima, MIE 517, Japan


The Foundation of Tokai Suisan Kagaku Kyokni


Naito Architect & Associates, Tokyo Design Team Hiroshi Naito, Hitoshi Watanabe, Nobuharu Kawamura

Structural Engineer Kunio Watanabe, S.D.G. Tokyo

Timber Construction Onisi Tanezo Construction Co. Ltd

Date of Completion 1992


The costs for the halls amounted to 320 million Yen.

6 I Plan and section, scale 1:200.

7 | Section through eaves, scale i:20. Roof construction: clay tiles on tiling battens, roofing felt on 35 x 45 mm counterbattens (45 mm thermal insulation in between), 15 mm fir boarding, 60 x 120 mm secondary rafters, 120 x 150 mm cross-members, 243 x 160 mm main rafters. Wall construction: 32 mm Japanese cedar vertical boarding painted with tar, sealing layer, 32 mm horizontal fir boarding, 305 x 210 mm timber columns at 1.70 m centres.

Structure | The two exhibition halls are identical structurally. The main structural elements are the 17.5-m-span glulam three-centre arches with a spacing of 1.70 m. Each arch is divided into three parts: the two lower parts of each arch are formed by two 300 x 100 mm members and the upper section is a single 345 x 160 mm member. These three parts are rigidly bolted together at third-points. The bases of the arches are founded at upper floor level, i.e. 2.80 m or 4.20 m above the ground floor. The bases of the arches are bolted to 210 x 200 mm columns. The elegant transition piece below the wider incoming compound arch member is very striking.

At the apex of the arch there is a continuous timber A-frame, the upper part of which contains the continuous clerestory windows. The sides are made from 160 x 160 mm members, arranged as triangular cross-bracing, which are supported on horizontal 160 x 200 mm sole plates carried on the arches. The sides are stiffened by central supports and horizontal compound members - all 90 x 105 mm. They meet the sides exactly at the points where the rafters intersect - a very interesting three-dimensional node. The horizontal compound members carry an inspection walkway. The shape of the triangular cross-bracing inevitably leads to the clerestory construction penetrating the gable ends, adding a dynamic component to these elevations.

The external profile of a simple pitched roof is formed by vertical 305 x 210 mm timber posts positioned directly behind the arches and extending as far as the eaves. They are connected at the top and at the base of the arches by sturdy timber sections. The 160 x 243 mm rafters are fixed to the top of these posts by means of a notched joint. They run diagonally towards the node points of the clerestory framework, two rafters from each column. They intersect with the rafters of the next column at the clerestory framework and thus constitute an effective longitudinal bracing system for the whole building. They are propped against the arch by four inclined 105 x 130 mm members with a further prop at the eaves. The gable rafters are also fixed at an angle and so the overhanging roof helps to shape the facade further. The bolted and screwed joints of the timber members are designed in such a way that the heads of the screws or bolts are recessed for exposed connections but still accessible - a good practical and formal solution. Most of the joints higher up the roof and in the clerestory area are in the form of T-shaped steel flats which are fitted into slits and then bolted or screwed.

The external walls are extremely simply designed and do not contain any thermal insulation. Horizontal fir boarding, approx. 32 mm thick, is screwed onto the vertical timber columns, which on the gables are 210 x 375 mm members. On top of the boarding is a sealing sheet and the externally visible, vertical 32 mm Japanese cedar boarding which is then painted over with tar. This is intended to be reminiscent of old fishermen's huts, the walls of which were soaked in dark whale-oil. Indeed, the whole complex with its simple pitched roofs evokes memories of traditional fishing villages.

The rafters described above carry horizontal 120 x 150 mm members at 1.0 m centres. In turn these support 60 x 120 mm secondary rafters at 40 cm centres onto which the 15 mm roof boarding is fixed. The remainder of the roof construction comprises counterbattens under the tiling battens for the clay tiles. A 45-mm-thick layer of thermal insulation, covered with a continuous layer of roofing felt, is laid between the counterbattens. A vapour barrier is obviously not necessary here.

All structural members are fabricated from glulam sections.

8 | View of the whole complex.

9 | The hall during construction.

9 | The hall during construction.

io | The junction of the triangular cross-bracing for the clerestory sides, horizontal and inclined incoming main rafters.
11 I Base of an arch.

3 I View from the south.

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