Fire stations of the world: Fire Department Disaster Control Centre - Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan
Minamisoma City in Japan is one of the places that suffered from the earthquake and tsunami of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. The Fire Department building of Minamisoma City was damaged and required to be rebuilt. In the confusion of the aftermath of the earthquake, it took three years from the schematic design to the completion of building combining the functionalities of fire department with wide area fire fighting headquarters, while this building became the first reconstructed public building in Minamisoma City.
Sadness still remains in this disaster-stricken city with many victims. Therefore, it was intended for this centre to become a place for giving hope to the citizens throughout the future, while the building will play important roles for fire fighting, disaster prevention and disaster prevention education foothold.
The space in the centre connecting those two functional facilities was elaborated as a symbolic structure as three-storey high wellhole, intended to be utilised as a disaster prevention education zone for the citizens.
A spatial configuration with top light and organic spiral space, as well as its symbolic upward quality of the space creates affordance to navigate movements of people. The top light frame was assembled with flat bars in 50mm width to achieve lightness in appearance. Gravity ventilation system with the aid of wind force was adopted, based on the simulations performed during the design phase, in order to realise the system to allow comfortable airflow throughout the building.
In this disaster prevention education zone, the design for exhibition space was also provided. By linking this exhibition space with the rising quality of the wellhole, it was configured based on the themes of; the "past" that we must not forget; the "present"; and the "future" for restoration. The actual height of the tsunami reached at this location was also represented with three-dimensional quality.
The exhibition walls and handrails continuing from the first floor to the third floor have varying heights to intentionally deviate the line of sight by locations. Those exhibition walls were placed to provide a space showing only what is needed to be shown, records of emergency activities during the disaster, messages from all over the world, fire engines and fire fighters in the actions seen through glasses. It was intended for citizens to clearly realise the importance of disaster prevention again, by alternately and sequentially exhibiting daily firefighting activities and scenes from the disaster.
What happened there, how people acted, how people felt, and what people will do from now on, it is what this disaster prevention centre should be to exhibit them.
Source: Arch Daily