minami-nagano dental clinic and residence by hiroko tanabe

minami-nagano dental clinic and residence
all images by takeshi noguchi

designed by hiroki tanabe, the minami-nagano dental clinic and residence is a complex
situated in the suburbs of nagano, japan within a farm village that is surrounded by rice fields
and peach orchards. a concrete plate, 300 millimetres thick forms the zigzag structure
which is comprised of three shells and two open courtyards. each of the individual shell is used
for different purposes: a residence, clinic and waiting lounge. inside the courtyards,
two glass boxes are set and used as pathways and entry halls between two adjacent shells.
the glass provides transparency throughout the space, people passing through the complex
can see the sun or rain falling above their head.

in this area of japan where the building is situated, urban planning laws require that newly-built
residences must incorporate public functions. constructing a space solely as an individual residence
is not permitted, and so the one-piece geometric unit fulfills this task.

a look into the shell used as a residence

profile view

behind the building
one of the two c


pathways between the shells

the clinic

the three shells use post-tensioned cable in their slabs, requiring no columns or beams
and have a useful life span of more than 200 years. the interior structure is built with timber
and light-guage steel and can be remodeled without structural constraints. the open concept
and floor to ceiling glass windows offer a good view of the farm village which is also meant
to calm patient’s anxiety.


both interior and exteriors are painted white to blend in with the plaster walls of the
neighboring traditional ouses. during the evening, indoor lighting overflows from three glass
openings (height 2.6m, width 10m and 3.3m) with emit soft lights with low color temperature
of incandescent lamps.

  • Source: designboom
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