Minami Yamashiro Primary School

Minami Yamashiro Primary School - construction

Detailed and implemented by RRP’s Tokyo office, this project uses simple, durable, low maintenance materials to achieve elegant results. The building has a strength of its own, yet can be read within the Japanese constructional tradition which has long inspired modern architects. The concrete frame is reminiscent of the classical timber-framed Japanese construction tradition, used to great effect in Shinto shrines, in which the main wall surfaces are infill, light-weight components, able to be opened up to create flexible, interconnected rooms and a strong connection between interior and exterior.

During the 20th century, the quality of concrete construction in Japan has gained a reputation second to none, especially for its fine and virtually blemish-free surfaces, without the need for render or other surface treatments. This is in no small part due to the high quality of the carpentry used to create the shuttering, ensuring that the finished surface is as smooth as natural stone. At Minami-Yamashiro School, an exposed concrete frame was used in a modern interpretation of this ancient construction method, combined with an infill of light-weight glazing and simple steel components.

The school is prominently situated on the brow of a hill in the centre of the village enjoying views out over the countryside and beyond. The school was designed to take advantage of natural light and ventilation, and embody a sympathetic relationship to its surroundings and context.

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