We designed a newly opened Japanese confectionary store “Nakamata” along the Chuo-dori shopping street in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture. The building, flanked by buildings on both sides and sandwiched between the arcade and pavement, had only one facade visible to the street and one could perceive the depth of the building only in the interior.
Because a Japanese confectionary store does not need an eating area for customers, the required floor area of the store was very small in proportion to the site area, which means we have a large excess volume on the site. The key to designing this project would be how to use the “excess volume” in order to give back to the city.
we created a path extending perpendicular to these layers to add a sense of depth in the city and enhance customers’ expectations. In other words, we decided to use the “reduced” building volume to create the spatial depth.
The design code established by Maebashi Machinaka Agency required the use of bricks on the building exterior. The interesting part of this project was that we were able to design while checking the progress of the projects on both sides. We imagined how they would stack bricks on both sides and studied how to stack our bricks in various patterns.
Another design code requirement is to plant trees on the site. We planted three small trees in the “void” space and designed in such a way that bricks around the trees will be removed along with the growth of each tree and the soil area will gradually increase. Considering such unique details, we did not fill in brick joints with mortar and left them as deep grooves to emphasize the solidity of bricks and highlight the contrast between light and shadow. We used this joint detail not only on the floor but also on vertical stacks to create a distinct brick appearance.