The Kansai International Airport designed by architect Renzo Piano is a very fascinating and unique building. It construction combines a man-made island, a high-tech new age looking structure and creative architectural design to create one of the biggest and most expensive airports in the world as seen to right in (Figure-1a). Human use of Kansai Airport is best expressed by the lecture topics discussed in class that include: Designation and Organization of Use, Architectural Determinism, Humanism at a Personal Scale, and Humanism at the Scale of Neighborhoods / Communities/Bureaucracies and Meaning in Architecture.
In the Professor Speck’s class lecture over Designation and Organization of Use, there are many themes that I feel parallel with the design of Kansai International Airport. In lecture Professor Speck said that the overall environment a building is in encourages both the behavioral aspects and the physical environment, which in turn alters the shape behavior of the building. This statement correlates perfectly to Kansai Airport, because first of all the building is built of the coast of Osaka, Japan on a made-island. So before the building is built there is already a sense of behavioral and physical difference that sets it apart from other buildings. According to the lecture space is designated for three reasons. The first reason being the practicality of the designated space, then the injection of certain cultural values and taboos and finally the intrinsic human need to claim pace- intervals and community. Also, he said that when architects are planning the zoning for building they consider time, efficiency and machines. Kansai Airport was built because of a need for a big international airport; however, Piano had to find an alternate location due to the crowdedness of the Osaka Bay area. Thus, he used the theme of designation and organization use to come to the conclusion of a manmade island. Piano decision for the island can be compared to early American houses expressed in the book The Place Houses. In the book the authors describe how the early houses in New England, Virginia and Deep South differed in design to help adapt to there environment. However, after Piano solved the problem of where the airport would be built he still had to decide how long to make the island so it could house the massive structure. The final decision was for the island to be four kilometers long and one kilometer wide. The Phaidon Press describes this well in the book On Tour with Renzo Piano when they write, “Projects such as Kansai International Airport are so large in scale that they are almost impossible to grasp.”(p. 7). The size of the island is seen from an aerial view above in (Figure 2-a). Architectural Determinism, as mentioned by Professor Speck, played an important role in the design and construction of the Kansai Airport. The interior of the building is very easy to navigate around. Transparent glass helps calm people down and at the same time speed up the process of arrival and departure. The long and narrow design allows for a nearly infinite field of vision, creating a stress free and carefree environment. This is described well in the book Renzo Piano when Emilo Pizzi writes, “The desire to maximize transparency between the various areas allocated to embarkation and arrival procedures mans that precedence is given at every point to the passengers need to find their way, as well as enabling them to see the planes parked in front of the building through windows.” (p. 228). Rather than some buildings where people can feel like a needle in hay stack and get lost easily, Kansai International is very easy to navigate through even with its massive size. The transparency of the interior that results in easy and efficiency of movement from one place to another is apparent in (Figure 3-a) right and above.
The next issue presented in lecture...
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