When brutalism meets the warm morning sun, the “gentle monster” contrast is calmingly poetic.
Beton brut style buildings are extremely common in Okinawa covering almost all types of uses from schools, houses to public facilities like the pictured Nago City Hall here. This function over form approach was born mostly out of necessity, as concrete buildings can better withstand harsh seasonal typhoons common in Okinawa. Yet one can’t undermine the noticeable design efforts that add character and an aesthetic touch to the otherwise unadorned concrete, the Nago City Hall is one more prominent example.
Exterior and interior became a seamless experience through the architectural design and vertical connectivity, the building's spatial openness also reflected its value of being truly open to the citizens according to the architects. Sunshading and ventilation considerations are well-suited to the climate, and the city hall embodies the characteristics of the region.
Beyond that harsh and less approachable facade, there are always gentle moments waiting to be uncovered by building users. Brutalist architecture deserves much more love and while they might be slowly disappearing in Singapore, elsewhere in the world there are still many places where they are standing strong and continuing to be relevant. Do check out the Nago City Hall ideally in early morning or late evening to experience it yourself, it may be a little hard to get there but certainly worth the trip.
By the way, my new year resolution is to try and write more as I have a secret goal to hit this year, so expect more of such mini blogs from me once in a while. Social media seems to be getting more laconic nowadays, and I can feel myself getting more shallow. Its always great to see beyond the photos sometimes and express some thoughts on some amazing architecture, isn't it?
Architectural design by Atelier Zo + アトリエ・モビル
Nago City Hall, Okinawa - Architectural Mini Blog #1 by Shiya Creative Studio, 2024