2009 – Za-Koenji Public Theatre – Toyo Ito

Za-Koenji Public Theatre is a theatre for contemporary performing arts. The theatre produces, presents and supports a wide range of cultural activities for the community of Suginami, enabling people of all ages to see and take part in many art forms from drama and dance to music and storytelling. The theatre is located within a residential district, the new building has replaced the old Koenji Hall.

Because of the surrounding context and the acoustic requirements within the building, Toyo Ito designed a “closed” space, with both its walls and roof being constructed of steel plate reinforced concrete, providing sufficient stability, yet remaining extremely thin. The roof form was carved out of a cube by 5 elliptic cones and 2 cylinders, resulting in a dynamic shape that expresses movement and lightness. The central axes, angles and coordinate positions of the elliptic cones and cylinders, were defined according to the height restrictions of the site and the height requirements of the internal programs.

With the halls stacked on top of each other a floating structural system was adopted with every floor slab, and walls and ceilings insulated from the main structural frame. Because of the strict height restrictions only the small main theater Za-Koenji 1, the cafeteria, and the offices are located above ground level. The rest of the programs are placed at basement levels.

Za-Koenji 1, the Main Auditorium, is a flexible space, that allows for a range of different stage and seating configurations. The lobby is entered directly from the square in front of the building. Za-Koenji 2, Civic Hall, is located on basement level 2. It is a conventional theater space with fixed raked seating, suitable for drama performances, dance, concerts, conferences or lectures.

The Awa Odori Hall, also on basement level 2, was designed for practices of one of the Japanese Bon Festival Dances performed during the Awa Odori Festival. This hall made use of its maximum volume in order to also meet the requirements for musical concerts and performances.


Name: Za-Koenji Public Theatre│Type: Entertainment│Architect: Toyo Ito│Completed: 2009

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