05-02-2007

Shin Minamata Station. Makoto Sei Watanabe. Shin Minamata (Japan). 2005

Makoto Sei Watanabe,

Japan,

Stations,

Makoto Sei Watanabe, born in 1952, is one of the architects who, over recent years, have devoted most effort to studying how metropolises are being transformed, concentrating most on the development of technologies which change habits and lifestyles.



Shin Minamata Station. Makoto Sei Watanabe. Shin Minamata (Japan). 2005 Public transport infrastructures are, in this sector, one of the most interesting elements of the contemporary panorama, in which Japan is without a doubt one of the most avant-garde scenarios.
This is indeed demonstrated by Makoto Sei Watanabe's latest project: the Shin Minamata Station which, when it was inaugurated in 2005, provided the city with a major railway junction. Technology and architecture are combined in this project, which has clear aesthetical value too. The station is the latest to be built along the high speed Shinkansen line, on the island of Kyushu, the first stretch of which was laid in the 1960s.

On the outside, the station looks like a large shell composed of long metal sheets placed at different angles, a fact that gives the construction an extremely dynamic appearance. Indeed the shell gives the impression of a trail or of a body hurled horizontally at very high speed, just like the trains which pass through these stations. The station is the first application of Watanabe's studies of movement and the use of flows within the urban environment.
The building, though plain, makes a strong mark on the landscape of Shin Manamata, a small town on the southern tip of the island of Kyushu. The metal elements, of differing sizes and lengths, are at the same time the structure, architecture and "skin", the construction of which was designed to make use of irradiation of the blades by the sun too.

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