Hokkaido University of Science - Sapporo (Japan)

A gateway to the future

As well as celebrating its close ties with the local community, the new Central Building at Hokkaido University of Science makes sophisticated use of architectural metaphors to represent a gateway to knowledge
Roberto Negri
Taisei Corporation
Année de réalisation

As one of Japan’s most prestigious higher education establishments, the Hokkaido University of Science in Sapporo has enjoyed close ties with the local community ever since its original nucleus was built back in 1924. These links have been maintained throughout the university’s almost 100-year history and are reflected in one of the most recent extensions to the university campus, the Central Building. This highly symbolic structure was intended to celebrate the university’s deep connection with the past as well as its future-oriented vision. The project to design the building, which has a total floor space of about 5,000 square metres on a 130,000 square metre site, was awarded to architect Yoshiki Nishio from the Tokyo-based practice Taisei Corporation. His aim right from the design stage was to create a building that would be capable of integrating architectural and distribution solutions suited to its numerous functions. This led to the idea of a hybrid structural grid that uses prefabricated concrete pillars and steel beams to create a large free space for the series of columns that define the façades, a kind of sunshade that filters direct sunlight. The striking pillared façade symbolises a gateway to knowledge and is based on a module with a 3-metre spacing between one column and the next, a scheme that is echoed in other spaces in the building. Based on the size of the smallest unit in the building, the laboratory, this standard module allows the spatial layout to be adapted easily while at the same time allowing for future expansions. The module can accommodate the lighting and air-conditioning systems and has a standard size that makes it suitable for prefabrication, a technique that significantly reduced construction time and ensured a higher quality of execution. Visitors approaching the University of Science campus along the avenue running perpendicular to the front of the building arrive at the main entrance, which serves as a metaphor for a gateway to knowledge. Immediately inside the entrance is a spacious hall paved with large-format ceramic tiles, on the surface of which a world map has been created using a special water-jet inlay technique. The two different grey tones used for the oceans and the continents consist of marble-effect porcelain tiles from Casalgrande Padana’s Marte collection, in this case chosen in the colours Raggio di Luna and Grigio Maggia. The antique pink shades of the Madras Pink finish were used to highlight Japan and in particular the island of Hokkaido.

Casalgrande Padana, Marte
porcelain stoneware
Raggio di Luna, Grigio Maggia
Caractéristiques techniques
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): < 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): conforme
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 150 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): conforme
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): PTV > 36
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme
Certifications et prix
ISO 14001
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