ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall
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ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall; Photo Courtesy Emilio Ambasz & Associates; Photographer: Hiromi WatanabeProject Name: ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall
Year: 1994
Owner: Dai-Ichi Mutual Life Mitsui Real Estate
Location: Fukuoka, Japan
Building Type: Commercial
Type: Intensive
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 1049406 sq.ft.
Slope: 2%
Access: Accessible, Private
Submitted by: and Emilio Ambasz & Associates

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Architect: Emilio Ambasz, Emilio Ambasz and Associates, Inc.
Associate Architect: Nihon Sekkei
Landscape Architect: Nihon Sekkei Takenaka Corporation
Engineer: Nihon Sekkei Takenaka Corporation
Engineering Consultant: Plantago Corporation
System Manufacturer: Katamura Tekko Company
Photographer: Hiromi Watanabe
Illustrations: Suns HungThis view shows the scale of ACROS Fukuoka; Photo Courtesy Emilio Ambasz & Associates; Photographer: Hiromi Watanabe Illustrations: Suns Hung
Argentine-born, U.S. architect Emilio Ambasz transposed a nearly 100,000-square-meter park in the city center onto 15 stepped terraces of the ACROS, "Asian Crossroads Over the Sea," Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall. The design for ACROS Fukuoka proposes a powerful new solution for a common urban problem: reconciling a developer's desire for profitable use of a site with the public's need for open green space. The plan for Fukuoka fulfills both needs in one structure by creating an innovative agro-urban model.

The Takenaka Corporation website states, "Emphasizing continuity of the planting zone with Tenjin Central Park, and to represent the landscape from the park as an image of a mountain instead of the low vegetation which has a tendency to occur in the vicinity of buildings in city areas, a staircase-shaped rooftop garden was adopted. Regarding the building as a mountain, and with the beauties of nature as a theme, a space configuration and vegetation configuration was adopted which represents the changes of the four seasons.

"Its north face presents an elegant urban facade with a formal entrance appropriate to a building on the most prestigious street in Fukuoka's financial district. The south side of the Hall extends an existing park through its series of terraced gardens that climb the full height of the building, culminating at a magnificent belvedere that offers a breath-taking view of the city's harbor. Underneath the park's fifteen one-story terraces lies over one million square feet of multipurpose space containing an exhibition hall, a museum, a 2000-seat proscenium theater, conference facilities, governmental and private offices, as well as several underground levels of parking and retail space. The structure is steel-framed reinforced concrete, the building has 14 floors above ground and 4 floors below ground, and the total floor space area is 97,252 m2.
Photo Courtesy Emilio Ambasz & Associates; Photographer: Hiromi WatanabePhoto Courtesy Emilio Ambasz & Associates; Photographer: Hiromi Watanabe
Along the edge of the park, the building steps up, floor-by-floor, in a stratification of low, landscaped terraces. Each terrace floor contains an array of gardens for meditation, relaxation, and escape from the congestion of the city, while the top terrace becomes a grand belvedere, providing an incomparable view of the bay of Fukuoka and the surrounding mountains. Growing media depths range between 12 and 24".

A stepped series of reflecting pools upon the terraces are connected by upwardly spraying jets of water, to create a ladder-like climbing waterfall to mask the ambient noise of the city beyond. These pools lie directly above the central glass atrium within the building, bringing diffused light to the interior through clerestory glazing separating the pools. Each year during the famous week-long Don Taku festival, the encircling balconies inside the atrium allow for a panoramic view as the procession passes through the building, while outside the stepped garden terraces become an inviting outdoor amphitheater for the entire city. A large "stone" like wedge at the foot of the terraced park pierces a V-shaped entrance into the building, revealing rough-hewn stone suggestive of geologic strata underlying the surface vegetation and likening the building to a massive block cut from the earth. This wedge shaped element also doubles as ventilation exhaust for the underground floors below and as a raised stage for performing artists.

The opposite side of the building faces onto the most important financial street of Fukuoka. Composed of striped glass, with every floor so angled as to reflect the passersby below, it softly de-materializes the mass of the building. The facade rakes outwardly from the vertical with each successively higher floor, creating the effect of an awning over the sidewalk. These overhanging eaves use the building design itself rather than an applied device to provide cover to pedestrians. The final stepped layers at the top create the effect of a large 45° cornice overhang at the street's edge, defining the public entrance while enhancing the building's urban presence.

Additional thumbnail photos:

Photo Courtesy Emilio Ambasz & Associates; Photographer: Hiromi WatanabeIllustrations: Suns HungTenjin Chuo Park and ACROS Fukuoka via Fukuoka Showcase. Copyright  ?2011Fukuoka City. All Rights Reserved.  Illustrations: Suns HungA wall, or is it a roof, of green? Photo Courtesy Emilio Ambasz & Associates; Photographer: Hiromi Watanabe
Read Linda Velazquez's August 12, 2011 blog post GPW: ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall in the Sky Gardens Blog. See the awesome ACROS on Google Map here and read about the city of Fukuoka and the area by visiting "Fukuoka Showcase" and reading Creating a City Coexisting with the Environment and Filled with Greenery. ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall was highlighted for the month of December in the 2008 Greenroofs of the World™ Calendar, and you can download a Greenroofs Wallpaper including the main photo above for your desktop by visiting Desktop Nexus. Visit the architect, Emilio Ambasz & Associates, website. Read the August 30, 2001 Takenaka Corporation "Heat Island Phenomenon Proven to Be Alleviated by Rooftop Greening" report on their thermal environment measurement survey of ACROS. Read about this project in the book by Earth Pledge, 2005, "Green Roofs: Ecological Design & Construction." Sale Price: $29.54 - Buy it here.
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