Ikuta Church in Kanagawa / Ryue Nishizawa

This two story church complex by japanese Architect Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA) on the hillside of Kanagawa, Japan, has been designed to achieve the optimal structural design.

Ikuta Church in Kanagawa technical Information

To design the structural system and calculate the ball park figure of the overall sizing of each structural elements is critical to achieve the optimal structural design in the country like Japan where the lateral load from the seismic forces takes greater deal of the incoming forces, typically 30% of the gravitational load.

– Chikara Inamura

Ikuta Church in Kanagawa from Chikara Inamura

Ikuta Church in Kanagawa / Ryue Nishizawa Ikuta Church in Kanagawa / Ryue Nishizawa Ikuta Church in Kanagawa / Ryue Nishizawa

This two story church complex sits on the hillside of a Kanagawa, Japan. The building is comprised of three buildings: main building that houses the church, administration building, and entrance hall. Each building is roofed with HP: Hyperbolic Paraboloid with a set of linear elements. The primary structural system for the superstructure is steel and substructure is direct foundation of continuous footing.

The interesting fact of this building is that the entire structural system is designed by hand using a simple desktop calculator. In the age of modern computation technology with abundance of sophisticated FEM software, this seemingly counterproductive design method is proven to be critical as a design engineer in order not to yield one’s design decision to the black box of the software.

This ability to design the structural system and calculate the ball park figure of the overall sizing of each structural elements is critical to achieve the optimal structural design in the country like Japan where the lateral load from the seismic forces takes greater deal of the incoming forces, typically 30% of the gravitational load. Once the decision is yield to the black box, the design becomes reactive, and most often the case, the design will not achieve the optimal solution.
This is the primary principle of engineering in the office of Sasaki and Partners, and therefore, all the project in this office is designed and calculated by hand during the preliminary stage. Once the design enters the schematic phase, the FEM is used to ensure the accuracy of the hand calculations in the preceding phase.
The first decision as an engineer to design the structural system is based on how to design the lateral load distribution within the overall system.
The two basic systems for the lateral load resistance are the rigid framing and the braces. In the case of the reinforced concrete structure, the latter is replaced with the shear walls.

Ikuta Church in Kanagawa / Ryue Nishizawa Ikuta Church in Kanagawa / Ryue Nishizawa

What determines the choice of material for the primary structural system is the loading capacity of the soil and the cost. This church sits on a relatively softer soil of a loamy layer, whose loading capacity is about 50 kN/m2, and therefore, the steel structure is deployed in order to minimize the overall weight of the superstructure.
For the lateral load bearing system, the church deploys one directional rigid frame and one directional bracing.

This decision of whether to deploy two directional rigid framing, two directional bracing, or one and one depends on the architectural requirement for the transparency and opacity per direction, as well as the span between the columns. Regardless of the system of choice for the lateral load bearings, it is important to keep a clear system and not mix them arbitrary so that maximum loading condition can be correctly examined and maximum safety can be assured.

In principle, each building is equipped with self sufficient rigidity against the lateral load in order to ensure the rigidity as a whole. The bracing are allocated in strategic locations in order to ensure the minimum eccentricity of the building as a whole.

Ikuta Church in Kanagawa Plans

Ikuta Church in Kanagawa / Ryue Nishizawa Ikuta Church in Kanagawa / Ryue Nishizawa

Ikuta Church in Kanagawa Gallery

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