Mycal Cultural and Athletic Center

  • This design for a cultural and athletic center was conceived as two hands touching at the wrists, with both "hands" shielding and cherishing the earth. The mass of the 450,000 square foot building is an elegant L-shaped wall, embracing a garden hillside and defining a winter garden along its outer perimeter. The slender exposed form contains offices and smaller meeting rooms while the larger volumes of the athletic facilities and multi-purpose hall lie hidden beneath the garden landscape. A series of reflecting pools begin at the top of the garden and flow down into the existing water reservoir, seamlessly integrating the new building with the existing landscape.
  • This project has given back to the community in the form of summer and winter gardens over 80% of the ground it covers. The Japanese Housing Authority, in charge of building this new town and pleased by this gesture, granted the client a substantial reduction in the land's price. An undulating glass facade skirting the two visible fronts of the building softens the visible mass while protecting the winter garden's plants. Conceived formally as a handkerchief and structurally as an airplane's elastic wing, this flexible glass facade survived in perfect condition the strong earth tremors that punished nearby Kobe.

project information

location:   Hyogo Prefecture, Japan
client:   Nichii Labor Union
cost:   $46.0M
area:   450,000 sq ft


  • Special Award from the Japanese Department of Public Works
  • Special Grand Prize of the Society of Japanese Structural Engineers