- Sustainable Architecture
- Cut in Koganecho by Persimmon Hills. From sex shop to art gallery.
The redevelopment of industrial districts is a topical theme in architecture but there are also less "out-there" interventions that are just as interesting. One example of this is “Cut in Koganecho” by the Persimmon Hills architecture firm in what until very recently was a renowned red light district in Yokohama: Koganecho. At its peak, this district of Japan's second most populated city was home to 250 illegal brothels with all the associated problems of drugs and violence.
In 2005, the local government initiated a general clean-up of the area, with targeted actions by social workers, police and, most notably, by artists. In 2008, the first ever art festival - Koganecho Bazaar - was held in the zone, attracting art and visitors to places hitherto off-limits.
This forms the backdrop for the work of Persimmon Hills, aimed at creating an art gallery and studio for artists in residence at the festival. The architects crafted an oblique cut into the old long, narrow space, hence the name. This eye-catching and symbolic design opens the gallery at the street front and attracts visitors to explore this new space dedicated to art.
The redeveloped architecture clearly stands out from the closed secrecy of the original building. Pale wood walls, plaster panels, bare concrete, large windows, all streamlined to underscore the project's formal sleekness.
Once more, art is the driver of social change, here combined with attentive architectural design by Persimmon Hills that strengthens the positive message of engaging with the city.
PERSIMMON HILLS architects / Yusuke Kakinoki + Shuhei Hirooka
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Koganecho, Yokohama, Japan
Photo credit: Kenta Hasegawa