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File.17 Maekawa Architectural Tour in Music Hall
Miyuki Inoue (Magcal Editorial Department)
Kanagawa Prefectural Ongakudo --- commonly known as "Wooden Hall".
I don't think anyone who is a fan of classical music knows about it, but the recent boom in architecture has led to an increase in new fans.
Designed by Kunio Maekawa. Yes, he is one of Japan's leading architects, having studied under the master of the architectural world, Le Corbusier.
Difficult things aside, anyway stylish and cool!
I heard that a "Maekawa Architecture Tour" was being held to celebrate the museum's 65th anniversary and reopening, so I went out eagerly.
First of all, from the entrance with an impressive yellow frame.
The wall of the balcony is a "hollow brick" that matches the prefectural library next door. It seems to be an excellent design in terms of functionality, but it seems that the reason why it was adopted for the music hall is because of the uniformity of the design. See last year's report for more details.
* Click here for a report on the library architecture tour >>
Inside the entrance, you can see Maekawa's commitment to color at a glance. Maekawa nodded greatly at the anecdote that he was particular about "color" so much that he said, "If I hadn't become an architect, I would have wanted to be a painter."
It's not a large space, but the colorful and impactful colors will make you feel better, so it might be a suitable design for the entrance of the music hall.
The bright and open foyer is typical of Maekawa architecture.
The orderly towering pillars are made of concrete, but there is something dignified and elegant. If you look closely, you can see the wood grain, but it is said that this is because hand-kneaded concrete is poured into the frame made of wooden boards. Thinking back on it now, it seems like a super-analog construction method, but the concrete of that era was said to be much stronger and more beautiful than it is today.
The floor surface is called "Terrazzo (artificial stone polishing)", which is also a construction method full of handmade feeling, but even after 65 years, it does not show any deterioration.
The music hall has undergone renovation work over a year and two months since last year, and has been revived beautifully. Therefore, the lighting equipment remains the same as when it was first built. However, since the light source has been changed to LED, consideration for the environment is not neglected.
By the way, the reason why the ceiling rattles like a staircase is because the audience seats are right above it. It has a gentle staircase that matches the slope of the second floor seats.
So, into the hall.
The concert hall was designed on the model of the Royal Festival Hall in London. It's quite small, but it's nice that every seat has a good view of the stage from the front row to the last row.
According to Seiko Ishikawa, who was in charge of the acoustic design, the fact that there are no "protrusions" such as the balcony on the second floor also has the advantage of sound reverberation.
As you can see from the nickname "Wooden Hall", the sound board on the stage, the walls and ceiling of the audience seats are all made of wood. Of course, the wave-like ceiling is also made of wood.
It seems that it was difficult to choose other than "wood" just after the war, but through careful consideration and ingenuity, the result was a sound that was praised by musicians around the world as "the best sound in the East." So great.
Also pay attention to the wall behind the second floor!
A board with holes is bent like a folding screen. This is also a device to prevent the sound from echoing more than necessary. This wall has also been thoroughly cleaned and repainted, giving it a high-quality image that you can't recognize.
You can also visit the musical instrument storage behind the wings of the stage. In order to protect delicate instruments, the temperature and humidity in the room are always kept constant. In other words, this is "the most comfortable place in the music hall".
This is the backstage waiting room. Why is there a concrete pillar in the middle...? If you think, this is a space that was expanded later. In other words, I took in the pillars that were standing outdoors. Somehow, it is full of handmade feeling.
I've visited the concert hall many times, but it might be the first time I've seen a drop curtain. Don't say, "Is it necessary?" There is a deeper reason for this.
The music hall was planned shortly after the war. It seems that some members of the assembly were saying, ``I'm in trouble with food, but what's wrong with the music hall?'' In order to persuade such voices, as a result of promoting the idea of ``a public hall that everyone can use,'' theater facilities such as drop curtains and projection screens were added.
However, the curtains are also designed by Maekawa. This time it seems to have been renewed based on the materials from that time, so if you have the chance, please take a look at it nearby.
Just as he designed the chairs for the library, Maekawa also designed various fixtures necessary for the music hall. For example, a display board for posters. The functional and modern design is so nice that you want to make it a miniature and decorate it on your desk.
Although I overlooked it, the music stand and the chair on which the musician sits are also designed by Maekawa. A simple chair without waste looks good in a stylish cafe.
Finally, look back at the foyer after the guests have left.
I love the foyer, which is usually wrapped in the exhilaration of concerts and the excitement of the extraordinary.
But on days when there were no concerts, I thought I would be happy even in a silent concert hall.
Everyone from the volunteer group bridge who guided us. Based on the three keywords of “enjoy,” “learn,” and “connect,” they conduct architectural tours and other activities to familiarize themselves with local culture and art.
thank you very much!
"Maekawa Architecture Tour in Music Hall" will be held in the future.
This time I participated in the full course (about 60 minutes, participation fee 500 yen).
No pre-registration is required for the 20-minute short course, and you can participate for free, so feel free to drop by!
*For details, visit the special website