The main concept of this project focuses on designing a car showroom for three Italian car brands (Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Abarth), located in the corner of the national and prefectural roads in front of the station in Nishinomiya city, Hyogo prefecture.
The free form structure allow numerous and wide openings that invite people from outside to see the displayed car model. Framing this, is the smooth, steel plate façade, with its polished surface seeking to embody the smooth form of Italian car.
Most of the beautiful bodies of automobiles are formed by pressing a thin steel plate into a monologue structure like an egg shell, and so the body and chassis are integrated. There is a functional aesthetic that demands lightness and toughness. Considering the use of this structural system as an architectural structure, we devised an appearance in which 3.2 mm steel plates supplely draw curved surfaces on the three faces facing the main street. The car body is made by partially welding the press-formed panels so that the joints can be seen. In this construction, the joints of all the steel plates are fully welded and the insulation paint is applied so that the iron plate looks seamless to make it look like a single plane. The expression changes depending on the viewing angle. In the northeast corner where the intersection is located, the outer wall line is greatly set back, creating an open space in the city where people can move and stay, and respecting the character of Tsuji (Kadoji, a crossroad, has been called "Tsuji" since ancient times, and is a place where various people come, go and meet).
The first and second floors have an Alfa Romeo showroom with a 5m high atrium. On the third floor, there are showrooms for two brands, Fiat and Abarth, and there are garages on the fourth and rooftop floors. The floor plan of each floor arranges the necessary functions on the south side, creating a large one-room space facing the road in two directions, north and east. On the first and second floors, the plan was to minimize the appearance of walls and pillars to maximize visibility from the outside to the room and to provide a parking entrance.
At first, we considered using only steel plates. However, since fire-resistant construction of fire-resistant steel plates is not permitted under the current regulations, four arched steel pipe columns are used as the main structure and are connected by steel columns. In this study, we considered a three-, four-story, two-layer volume that floats dynamically from the ground. These four winding steel tube columns appear in the interior space, giving visitors a sense of the skeleton that forms the architecture. Panoramic openings of various sizes are provided on the steel plate between the steel pipe pillars so that the vehicles displayed and stored on the 3rd and 4th floor can be seen by the driver of the car in the urban spacing. These shapes are not uniform rectangular windows, but draw smooth and mysterious curves like sewing the trajectory of a steel tube arch column.