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Meeting Place of Forest


Tetsuo Kobori Architects + Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd. + Fujita Corporation

Tetsuo Kobori Architects, Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd., and Fujita Corporation proudly announce that they have won the Best of Best in the Institutional Architecture category at Architecture MasterPrize (AMP) 2023, one of the most prestigious international architecture awards in the world.


The design team aimed to create a place of open exchange and co-creation for 49,000 employees with this project, implemented at the request of Daiwa House Group, which engages in the provision of construction and real estate services. Although the official name of this facility is “Daiwa House Group MIRAI KACHI KYOSO Center ‘Kotokurie’”, the place is better known as “MORI no KAISHO”, which means “Meeting Place of Forest” in Japanese.


Creating a Kaisho of the modern time: A New Meeting Place

The design team started by thinking about the significance of a place for people gather in a rapidly changing and unpredictable society in terms of what it means to gather and learn together. During the design phase, three workshops were held in total with members from across the entire Daiwa House Group to incorporate the opinions and ideas of many people who would be using this facility.


Based on keywords that emerged from the workshop sessions, they decided that the concept for this facility would be “MORI no KAISHO,” or a “Meeting Place of Forest”. “Forest” refers to the Yoshino forest, the birthplace of the Daiwa House Group’s founder, with its beautiful landscape of light, wind, and water that nurtures an abundant ecosystem.


On the other hand, “kaisho” refers to a place for cultural exchange and communication in the Muromachi period, where people from different social classes would sit in a circle and compose traditional renka and waka poetry.


Drawing inspiration from these concepts, the idea arose that it should serve as a modern-day kaisho, where people can gather, inspire and influence each other.


Memories of the Land from 1,300 years ago

The site is located in the southern part of Heijyo-kyo, the ancient capital of Japan. Archeological surveys of buried cultural properties prior to construction unearthed the remains of settlements and dwellings from approximately 1,300 years ago. The architects were deeply impressed by the remains of wells, building foundations, and pillars. The landscape confirmed their conviction that the essence of human gathering will never change and that the memories of the land should be passed on to the future.


The excavated soil, reused for the exterior wall material and the trace of the settlement, was expressed in the architecture to recreate memories.


Harmony of Three Elements: Wind, Sun, and Water

In order to give the building a sense of scale that allows people to feel connected to each other, the 230m-long site was largely segmented into three sections, namely “wind”, “sun”, and “water”, which constitute the building. The idea echoes the phrase set forth by the founder as his vision for the enterprise in the twenty-first century. Accordingly, the Sun Hall is a space open 360 degrees to allow natural light, with a capacity of 500 people. The Wind Patio is a place for conversation while dining. And the Water Salon is a place to learn about the founder’s philosophy and to reflect on oneself.


The three halls are interconnected by circulation routes that intertwine like a Möbius loop, creating organic and continuous spaces that impose no restrictions on human activities. The first and second floors of the training area are continuously connected by slopes. All areas, centered around the training space called Studio, are open and can be used as connected spaces.


Trainees can see each other’s training sessions, and the loose overlapping of their activities creates an environment where they can mutually inspire and stimulate each other. In the open spaces, furniture and other elements are placed throughout to provide opportunities for people to gather, and all areas can be used for training and interaction. Slope spaces can be used for exhibitions and other media functions to inspire visiting employees.


The third and fourth floors are accommodation zones, and the “master living room,” where trainees can get together after training and share their enthusiasm, is located above the Sun Hall and connected to it by an atrium. Trainees are led from the master living room to six “cabins” where they interact in small groups to consolidate their learning, and then to individual booths for sleeping.


From the reception area in the Water Salon, on the third floor, people can see the mountains and Todaiji Temple, and get a sense of the horizon of Yamato Lake, which originally stretched across the ancient Nara Basin.


The idea was to create a place where employees can have discussions with their colleagues and draw a grand vision for the future, while feeling the temporal axis connecting the past, present, and future.


The design team hopes that this facility will serve as a place of co-education, co-creation, and co-existence for developing new human resources for the new era, where various people can introduce their ideas through activities including educational support for children who will lead the future, and collaboration with local companies and municipalities.