News 18-08 (No.368)
Issued : August 25, 2018
Akayama History and Nature Park and Kawaguchi City’s Meguri No Mori Crematorium
By Toshiko Fukuchi
In early April, 2018, Kawaguchi City opened its first municipal crematorium, named Meguri No Mori. The new facility is located in a pleasant location in the city’s Akayama History and Nature Park.
<< Overview of the Meguri No Mori Project >>
Kawaguchi City’s Meguri No Mori Exterior
Kawaguchi City’s Meguri No Mori Entrance
Toyo Ito & Associates was the architect for the Meguri No Mori crematorium project. Toa Corporation and regionally-based Saiwa Kousan Co., Ltd formed a partnership specifically for this project and together served as the general contractor.
Nagata Acoustics participated as the project’s acoustical consultant. In particular, we provided sound isolation strategies for the equipment and anti-vibration measures to reduce the transfer of sound from the crematories to the special rooms for farewell services and for inurnment. We also specified means to isolate sound between the large and small waiting salons where families gather to wait in-between the service and ceremony.
<< Akayama History and Nature Park >>
Akayama History and Nature Park spans an expansive area measuring 10.9 hectares of land adjacent to a parking area of the Kawaguchi Route portion of the Metropolitan Expressway. According to construction documents for the park, its plans aim to create an “oasis of water and greenery” that will attract vistors from both near and far.
The area of Kawaguchi City where the park is located is the Angyo District, a neighborhood known for its plant nurseries since the Edo Period (1603-1868). Beyond the perimeter of the park, the district’s plant nurseries continue the visual sense of greenery everywhere.
The center of the park has a water retention basin. Two public museum buildings (both designed by Toyo Ito & Associates) already dotted the rim of the basin before the start of the Meguri No Mori project. One museum exhibits regional products and one displays historical artifacts. The new crematorium also stands at the rim of the retention basin. People visit the park to stroll along the water’s edge, visit the museums and casually enjoy the outdoors.
In addition to assigning the park its offical “Akayama History and Nature Park” name, Kawaguchi City invited residents to suggest nicknames for the park. From among the submissions, the city selected “Iina Park” for the park’s nickname. In addition to “Ii – na” meaning “It’s good!”, the nickname was chosen because it reminds people of the family name “Ina”. Ina Tadaharu was a famous local samurai and landowner during Japan’s Edo Period.
<< The Meguri No Mori Crematorium >>
Salon where families to gather and wait
Regional Products Museum at Iina Park
The Meguri No Mori building is mostly a single story structure with a protruding second story at its center. The concrete roofline features undulating curves that create a strong visual impression. The roof of the central, two-story portion of the building looks as if it is bursting up from the surrounding single-story part of the building The exterior walls and single-story roof are finished in a brown color, while the center second-story roof has the beginnings of a green roof with newly planted trees. The protruding two-story portion may look bare at present, but in a few years’ time, the trees are expected to entirely cover this portion of the roof with rich, green color. The architectural design of the building blends perfectly with its park surroundings.
The equipment of the building’s crematories is located in the raised, second-story part of the building. Seven separate rooms connect to the center part of the building. These rooms serve a dual purpose. In particular, they are set up as inurnment rooms. Each inurnment room has 2 crematories connected to it so that the crematory equipment can run in alternating time frames. In addition, each inurnment room has configurable lighting settings so that the same room can be used for both the farewell service and for the inurnment ceremony. The goal of this design is to be mindful of the needs of families of the departed persons within a compact building footprint.
When visitors enter the building’s lobby, first they see the rooms for the farewell services and inurnment ceremonies. Beyond the doors to these rooms, the Waiting Hall has 10 salons where families can gather and wait in-between the farewell service and the inurnment ceremony they are attending. The windows of the salons overlook the pond-like water of the retention basin and the park’s greenery, so that bereaved family members can rest their eyes and thoughts on something pleasant while waiting between the service and the ceremony.
<< Acoustical Considerations for Meguri No Mori >>
People who attend farewell services and inurnment ceremonies want to do so in a place with a solemn atmosphere. A certain level of quiet is essential to achieving the feeling of solemnity in the space. At Meguri No Mori, the crematory associated with a room for farewell services and inurnment ceremonies might be in operation when the family of another departed person is using the room. Therefore, it was important for us to reduce the possible noise transfer from the crematories to the inurnment rooms.
In particular, on this project we provided specific advice on how to isolate sound produced by the crematories, specifications for the walls and doors between the crematories and the inurnment rooms and details about how to build sound isolation for the ducts, conduits and related penetration points. Regarding the interior finishes in each of the inurnment rooms, because we could confidently predict that most of the sound would be human speech of not very large sound volume, we specified sound absorbing finishes for the ceilings of these rooms.
For the free-form ceilings of the Waiting Hall, where the project wanted more focus on visually appealing finishes, we specified a ceiling of sound-absorbing concrete to which we added a layer of non-combustable material and a sprayed-on, resin finish. Overall, this space has a large footprint that creates a slightly long, sound-reverberation time. However, because we reduced reverberations of higher pitched sounds, we achieved a calm acoustic environment in this space.
<< Contributing to the Local Ecosystem >>
The columns that support the undulating ceiling hide gutters that receive rain from the roof and send it to the water retention basin. In this way, the project made a positive contribution to the location’s ecosystem.
<< Meguri No Mori Changes Our Image of Crematoria Buildings >>
On April 2, 2018, the facility held a public observation tour attended by some 3,000 people. The Meguri No Mori building significantly changed everyone’s assumptions about how this kind of facility should be designed. Together with members of the Kawaguchi City community, I, too, was surprised at how the right design resulted in our constructing a facility for this purpose of which everyone can feel proud.
As for Iina Park Kawaguchi, this is the first time a municipality is experimenting with creating an “oasis” adjacent to a major metropolitan expressway. When the oasis completes, I think that it will attract many visitors from places beyond Kawaguchi City, because the plans include places to shop and eat, as well as to take strolls in the park. I look forward to the realization of the larger oasis plan.
Nagata Acoustics Inc.
Hongo Segawa Bldg. 3F, 2-35-10 Hongo
Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
Tel: +81-3-5800-2671, Fax: +81-3-5800-2672
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Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tel: +1-310-231-7878, Fax: +1-310-231-7816
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Tel: +33 (0)1 40 21 44 25, Fax: +33 (0)1 40 21 24 00