- Fukuoka, Japan
- Lead Architect
- Kenichiro Ide
- Koichi Torimura
WELL is a small and narrow office building situated on a triangular site along the outer loop road in Fukuoka City, Japan. Designed by architects rhythmdesign and led by Kenichiro Ide, the three-storey office faced several challenges to create a suitable working environment. Of course, there were physical constraints given the size of the plot and the noise pollution given the volume of traffic in the surrounding area was a difficult hurdle to overcome. The client had requested the office be surrounded by nature.
The starting point of the design was how to realise such an environment beside the road where many vehicles come and go. The architects made the decision to make a courtyard in the building, but because it is a small area with a floor area of 33 square metres, rhythmdesign made a large courtyard that accounts for 1/3 of the building area with the aim of providing a calming space where workers can feel immersed in nature. Kenichiro Ide explains:
I thought that by holding a large outside (courtyard) in a small building, I would be able to feel the architecture and the environment with a feeling greater than the actual size.
At ground level sits the entrance and a small parking lot, and the upper levels feature meeting rooms and the office space. On the upper levels, the courtyard begins, sitting parallel to the working areas, reaching 3 metres in height. Natural light was also considered an essential element for the space. Light from the South is reflected on the frame wall on the Northside, leading it to the room as stable indirect light. The window facing the courtyard of the second-floor meeting space is a large sliding door. The minimalist concrete interior faces the courtyard with a large frontage compared to its depth, so when the sliding door is fully opened, the interior looks like it's outdoors. From the office space on the third floor, you can see the branches of the trees planted in the courtyard.
At first, the surrounding area of the building might not seem like an ideal location for an office, but what the architects have managed to create is a serene and sanctuary-like workspace that contrasts brilliantly with the hectic outdoor environment.