ロコモティブ・ヒルズ Locomotive Hills

This is a building that we have been working on while continually considering the meaning of "richness.
The word "affluence" requires consideration from a variety of perspectives, and at the same time, our architectural guidelines were constantly being questioned. This building is a day service center.

This building is a day service center. It is located about 10 minutes north by car from the city center of Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture. It is located in the middle of a gently sloping road with a gently sloping forest ridge beyond. The site is long and narrow from east to west, with houses close by on the north and south sides. Due to the nature of the facility, it is necessary to provide ample parking space, so the building is located at the far east end of the site. This arrangement is not only for convenience, but also opens up a variety of possibilities in terms of the facility's use.

The shape of the building resembles a "hill. The shape of the building is intended to create continuity with the surrounding landscape (the gently sloping forest ridge) mentioned earlier, and to express the appearance of greenery in the town. The impact of the building is intentionally reduced by creating a "pause" between the street and the building, so that it can be reflected softly in the eyes of the people. The entrance is designed as if it were absorbed into a green hill, and an open large space spreads out beyond the L-shaped bend in the interior corridor. This large space is used as a dining room and a functional training room. Vertical blinds are installed on the north and south fronts of the glass windows, and the balance of the plants tied to the outdoor fence ensures adequate lighting. At the same time, the blinds softly block the view from the neighboring property while maintaining a sense of openness. The ceiling is covered with wooden beams along the slope, creating a sense of depth through the continuity of its curves. Through the glass of the wooden window frames, ivy swaying in the wind from the rooftop creates a space where one can take a deep breath while staying indoors. Various necessary equipment rooms are divided into east and west directions around a large space to ensure good flow lines.

The elevator and indoor stairs lead to the rooftop. The green hill that runs continuously from the outside of the building leads directly to the rooftop garden. Even though the building is a wooden structure, we were able to realize rooftop greenery by using a dedicated metal waterproofing system. The thickness of the soil and the type of plants were determined based on their load-bearing capacity, and delicate trees are safely embedded by underground support pillars. Walking paths were created using a gentle slope, and the paths were covered with fine gravel-like lava rock. The gravel was chosen for its visual beauty as well as its light weight and pleasant skin feel. The gentle stimulation through the soles of the shoes and the softness of the steps reduce the burden on the joints. Most of the plants planted on the subtle slope with ambiguous boundaries are root crops, which reduces maintenance for the staff. The small arrangement also allows for a variety of herbs and flowers in vases to be plucked from the garden and brought directly into the life of the facility, thus assimilating the indoor and outdoor air. In addition, a small field and a spacious deck provide space for the residents to freely enjoy themselves.

The client, a physician, placed great importance on the benefits of plants in the medical field. He deeply considered how human dignity should be protected and cared for from psychological, physiological, physical, and environmental perspectives, and entrusted us with his thoughts. We took this idea and developed an overall vision for the facility, placing importance on the primitive senses of sight, touch, and smell.

In recent years, many care facilities have been constructed in various regions of Japan due to the high demand for such facilities. In order to secure the necessary functions and accommodate as many people as possible on a limited site, the design tends to minimize waste in the total area of the facility. The layout of the buildings we have adopted and the overall facility design have been developed in such a way as to meet the necessary functions while at the same time keeping a sense of "room" in mind. Margin" is one of the "richness" that can be brought to people's hearts and minds. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, "affluence" can be understood in a number of different ways from various individual perspectives. The "richness" that comes to people's hearts and minds is very vague and cannot be easily defined.

The facility was already open, and we could hear the cheerful voices of the users and staff. A woman on her way home was walking slowly through the entrance, taking the hand of a staff member. She told us, "Walking here is also good exercise. She told us, "You can also get exercise by walking here. From the entrance, we walked through a relatively long parking lot to the road. However, the time spent walking while looking at the greenery makes it feel like a walk - he said. Children cheered when they saw this facility while walking along the road. Many people stop walking and look at it for a while. There are also scenes of conversation with the users and staff. In the future, they are planning to organize "events that can be enjoyed together with the local community. There are dreams of the possibilities this facility holds.

The name of the facility, "Locomotive Hills," means "hills of mobility.
The name "Locomotive Hills" is not only a reference to the facility's focus on limb training, but also to its scenic richness, as the "hills" are considered to be landscapes. The name of this facility reflects the client's deepest wishes, and we are very happy that we were able to play a part in that through our architecture.


  • Completion 2014.10
  • Building site Fukuyama, Hiroshima
  • Principal use nursing-care center
  • Structure Wooden 2 stories
  • Photo Takahiro Shimokawa