SANAA @ Naoshima Ferry

anyone have drawings/details/info on how SANAA got this project to be so f*cking stunning?

i'm utterly perplexed as to how columns that delicate and a roof that thin could be pulled off in a seismic zone.

any thoughts?


Mar 11, 11 12:03 am

more delicious photos on iwan baan's site

Mar 11, 11 12:06 am

good question

she did amazing job at 21st c. museum too.

my guess? thicker steel, and careful misdirection (the mirrored pieces are sheer walls?) must have taken ages to get it all to work. even the joints (column to beam, beam to roof) are real smart. quite a work.

Mar 11, 11 12:23 am

really badly scanned plan from JA

in the plan, the mirrored segments do look like shear walls.
actually... found this:
"70mx52m roof held up by 85mm (3.3") diameter columns. below it are (8) 2400mm shear walls covered in mirrored finish stainless steel."

appears to be a segment in Japan Architect 69, spring 2008.

and just sick at night. makes our ferry terminals look like dog poo.

Mar 11, 11 12:47 am

hope this helps...

from El Croquis's SANAA 2004-2008 - 139



Mar 11, 11 1:28 am

damn. you just made my day. i actually expected a composite deck, though i guess that might be too much weight if the ground starts shaking?

i've got their older el croquis. looks like i need to go shopping again.

Mar 11, 11 1:35 am
St. George's Fields

this totally just gave me a massive archi-boner.

Mar 11, 11 2:13 am

I am just curious of the building location.
I guess the building is probably in area where snow doesn't fall.

Mar 11, 11 1:48 pm
St. George's Fields

Inland Sea.

Some might chide me on saying this but snowfall within a 100 ft. elevation of sea level and within a few miles of the sea usually sees structurally insignificant snowfalls. Unless, however, it does get cold enough in that specific area to cause the ocean to freeze.

Mar 11, 11 2:22 pm

I see...Thanks for explaining that!

Mar 11, 11 2:59 pm

Are the columns in this one a solid section? I don't read japanese, and can't tell from the detail section.

Mar 11, 11 3:03 pm

it doesn't say the thickness, only that phi(radius)=85mm and that it is hot-dip galvanised. the structural drawings would be the ones we need to see for sure how thick the steel is. I would guess it is thicker than normal but not solid myself.

it is in semi-tropical part of world. no snow. not sure how hot it gets since its so close to water.

Mar 11, 11 4:13 pm

One of my favorite sanaa projects. It's amazing how a building so massive can essentially disappear. The polished steel sheer walls are genius; while structurally stabilizing the canopy against lateral wind loads, from the interior of the space they mirror the surroundings and distort the perception of the extents of the building. It's nice to see that section; I hadn't seen that before.

I wrote more about it here if you're interested.

Mar 13, 11 6:35 pm

My wife and I went to Naoshima as part of our honeymoon tour through Western Japan last summer. Here some snapshots I took with my iphone.

Not sure if SANAA also designed the little tables in the coffee shop area of the terminal, but they went perfectly with the overall design of the building. Reflections on polished steel et al.

It gets crazy hot in Japan during the summer months, so the shade from the wide-spanning roof was a true blessing.

These benches were very nice, too.

Here you can see that the mirror walls do have a certain thickness to it despite their ultralight, almost dematerialized appearance.

Unfortunately minimalism does not survive if the occupants can't deal with it: most of the big windows were covered with curtains inside to protect from the heat and create some sense of privacy for the people working at the ticket terminal and the gift shop, killing the beautiful idea of transparency and airiness. Also many trash bins, announcement posts and the infamous Japanese army of vending machines heavily compromised the otherwise flawless picture. SANAA should have foreseen these organic 'life additions' and provided strong and effective design solution.

Other than that, great building. Oh, and they make some damn good coffee there!

Mar 16, 11 5:07 pm

that is pretty standard for glass buildings here. my partner is always complaining about it.

people are not props, so all glass buildings here usually have boxes up against the windows. if you can imagine living your life without walls it isn't an easy thing. for myself i like it. it reminds us that life is going on.

the lack of operable windows in all of sejima's projects seems like a pretty large trade-off choice. it would be interesting to see if she and ryue nishizawa could make a less formally pure building without compromising on the aesthetics. if anyone could do it i bet it is them. maybe, so far, no one has asked them to try?

Mar 16, 11 6:10 pm


off the top of my head, the only recent building they've done with a large number of operable windows has be the rolex learning center. unfortunately, to me at least, it looks a little clunky. i'm sure they could do it though.

i guess she can do what nishizawa did and just forgo windows all together

Mar 16, 11 6:29 pm

Hello everyone,

Apart from the structural my question is... how does this building deal with the rain? Ok, there´s not snow, but in this tropical weather it rains... and a lot!

Aug 29, 16 12:42 pm

I am assuming you are talking about drainage...? The long section of the roof has a 0.5% grade

It's the inland sea so it's not so bad with rain ( typhoons ). The enormous roof and overhangs are probably enough.
Aug 30, 16 10:09 pm

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