JAPANESE FIRM FT Architects is behind the design of two new sports halls at the Kogakuin University campus in Tokyo. The brief was to create accessible and inspiring spaces in which the students could be active. They were to be free from pillars and columns, cheap to construct and made from local timber. The solution was to create two halls with self-supporting roof structures in timber recycled from other building projects.
The hall pictured above is used for Kyudo, the Japanese martial art of archery. Next to this sports hall is another hall of identical size, 7.2 metres x 10.8 metres, and built according to the same construction principles. And yet the halls feel completely different due to their different structural and spatial designs.
To achieve pillarless spaces using cheap construction methods, it was necessary to come up with innovative new ideas on how wood can be used. The key to success was to create a lattice of wooden frames that employ slender offcuts from a local furniture maker. Ensuring that each lattice was entirely made up of right-angled components required minute accuracy during assembly. Nuts and bolts hold the wooden frames together.
The other hall is used for boxing training and is built along the same lines. However, it comes across as less light in tone. Its lattices are stepped in line with the pitched roof and the wood is much chunkier.«