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Japanese couple designs kindergarten to instill lesson learnt from tsunami

Published on Sep 11, 2012 3:11 PM

ISHINOMAKI (DAILY YOMIURI/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Architects Takaharu Tezuka, 48, and his wife, Yui, 43, are behind a recently completed new building for Asahi Kindergarten in Minami-Sanriku, Miyagi Prefecture. After the kindergarten was destroyed by tsunami in March 2011, Japan Committee for Unicef asked the couple last May to design the new structure.

About 120 Japanese cedar trees from 200 to 450 years old that had died near the kindergarten due to the tsunami provided the wood for the new building. It is a typical Japanese-style flat building and was partly constructed using a traditional method with minimum metallic elements. Since this method was also used for Kyoto's Kiyomizudera temple, the Tezukas believe that the building can last 300 years. "We wanted to engrave a lesson [from the Great East Japan Earthquake] on this building that 'you must run away when a tsunami comes,'" they added.

Both of the designers' fathers were also architects. They got married in 1992 and set up a joint architectural firm in 1994. While Mr Tezuka is better at theoretical design, including structural dynamics, his wife brings an artistic sentiment to his work.

A kindergarten they designed in Tokyo in 2007 featured a unique oblong roof, for which they received the Prize of Architectural Institute of Japan for Design and the Japan Institute of Architects Award.

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