Memorial Hall in Yamaguchi

Ube, Yamaguchi
Hiroyuki Hirai

This building is for the medical faculty of Yamaguchi University. It commemorates the 50th anniversary of the institution and was donated by the alumni association.
Although it is an alumni hall, it is a place not just for alumni reunions but also for the discussion of cutting-edge themes in the field of medicine. It houses facilities for conferences, meetings, research seminars and lectures. Students, faculty and employees of the university can also come here to relax.
The hall is located in a garden that was donated earlier by supporters of the university and that has long been frequented by students and the university staff. Thus, the place already possessed a significant reality and was associated with many fond memories. The new building was an attempt to reinforce rather than to erase that reality or those memories. The design is intended to integrate the architecture and the garden and to produce anew place in the campus. The old memories have not been erased but woven into a new landscape. The layering of old memories and a new structure creates a sense of place and ultimately a sense of history within the campus.
The main approach to the hall is over a pond in the Japanese garden. The path then turns 90 degrees to the right. The western third of the building is an outdoor terrace that leads to the first-floor entrance hall and a ramp. Most of the spaces, with the exception of the top-floor conference room, face the garden or the abundant greenery in the campus. For a brief moment, people can forget the stresses of being in a medical school.