‘Klein Dytham Architects’ latest project forms part of the celebrated Kumamoto Artpolis program. This program, designed to provide Kumamoto, a centre of the southernmost island of Japan, with world-class public buildings, has resulted in masterpieces by Japanese stars such as Toyo Ito, Kazuyo Sejima, Tadao Ando, and Kazuo Shinohara.
KDa’s new koban, or neighbourhood police station, is located near Kumamoto’s new railway station and was required to stand out as a local landmark but present a friendly image. To make the requested sculptural gesture, KDa wrapped the top of the building in a ribbon of perforated steel plate and coloured the upper floor volume and the inside of the ribbon with a gentle rainbow gradation. This bold graphic can be seen from all around the neighbourhood, but up close creates subtle effects by casting shadows on the surrounding road. While the ribbon was not part of the brief for the building, KDa have cunningly made it functional – a 3m cantilever creates a shelter where patrol cars can park, allowing the police to enter and exit without getting wet!’