Tetsuo Kobori Architects enliven research facility with natural forces

Wood floors and furnishings and a paper ceiling draw on both the forested setting and traditional Japanese architecture.

HAMAMATSU – An industrial hub known for its motorcycle production – home to the Yamaha and Suzuki headquarters, among others – Hamamatsu might sound like the last place to host pioneering advances in eco-friendly technology. However, Tokyo-based firm Tetsuo Kobori Architects has designed a new research and development facility in the city for automotive filtration company ROKI that seeks to inspire such innovations among its workforce.

The ROKI Global Innovation Center – or ‘ROGIC’ – comprises a massive, arching roof composed of a hybrid wood and steel truss, draping over a single room that is partitioned by multiple tiers and walls to create unique outdoor and indoor spaces. The interior employs wood after its forested setting in floors and furnishings, and paper after a traditional Japanese shōji in its ceiling. Offices inside may be opened to the outdoors by sliding glass panels and skylights that admit ample natural light even when closed.

Most remarkably, the exterior side of the roof actually employs one of ROKI’s automotive filters to regulate the flow of air and light into the building. Along with earth tubes that harness the breeze of the Tenryu River on which the building rests, these features are projected to cut energy usage for lighting by 30-35% and for heating and cooling by as much as 52%. Productivity, on the other hand, should certainly flourish in an environment where one is always connected with the changes of the days and the seasons.

Photos courtesy of Ryota Atarashi and Takahiro Arai

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