An Office, or a Lair
Takahashi Construction Building
Obihiro, Hokkaido
Architect: Atelier Zoo
Construction completed in 1998

Takahashi Construction Building
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Takahashi Construction Building

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A unique company built a unique office. This building in northern Japan is the headquarters of an agricultural civil engineering firm.

Working at construction site, 25 staffs out of 35 are usually off the office. Only when heavy snow gives them leisure, they sometimes return to the office and hold a party with families. Respecting such a philosophy, the architect developed an extraordinary concept of a building like an animal's hibernation lair; largely inspired, the lighting designer wanted to take full advantage of natural lights, while harmonizing the office with rich environment.

The office is half-buried in 1-hectare ground. Conforming to Chinese mystical theory called feng shui, four small gardens are disposed around the building. Seen in the green are "lightwells" which introduce natural lights indoors. During bad weather, 150W metal-halide lamps supply luminance.

Under the 6.3-meter-high ceiling of the office, pendent fixtures created by the lighting designer provide sufficient light for a workplace. Four 27W compact fluorescent lamps are installed in each. Meanwhile, 250W halogen lamps light up the curved ceiling. The mezzanine is designed as a relaxing space, mildly lit with incandescent lamps.

An office in the ground, or a lair of engineers. Lightwells make the office opened to the air, pendents lay shadows like sunshine through trees, uplights put light on gentle slope of the earth. Three sources of light introduce natural relaxation in the office, building a human's lair in the ground of northern province.

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