The new Minamisoma City Fire Department Disaster Control Center has been completed by Tetsuo Kobori Architects in Japan
On 11 March, 2011, one of the greatest earthquakes ever to shake Japan took place, causing severe damage to coastal cities along Northeast Japan. Minamisoma was one of the cities hit by a tsunami, and the fire department building was severely damaged.
Taking three years from design to completion by Tetsuo Kobori Architects, the new building has become the first reconstructed public building in the city, serving as a place for firefighting, disaster prevention and education.
The centre of the building is designed as a disaster prevention education zone for citizens, and features a lightwell to open the building up to the outdoors. A gravity ventilation system with the aid of wind force was also adopted, based on the simulations performed during the design phase, in order to realise the system to allow comfortable airflow throughout the building. Spiral stairs help to navigate visitors in different directions and add a sense of movement to the interiors.
With the theme ‘Past, Present and Future’, the education zone showcases the actual height that the tsunami reached. Other displays include records of emergency activities during the disaster, a collection of goodwill messages from all over the world and images of fire engines and fire fighters in the action.