Minami-Nagano Dental Clinic & Residence


This is a complex of a dental clinic and the dentist’s residence in the suburbs of Nagano, Japan. It is located in a beautiful farm village surrounded by rice fields and peach orchards.

A concrete plate 300-millimeters thick forms a zigzag structure that makes up a shell and a division between tree indoor places and two open courtyards. They are placed in alternate shifts and facing each other across the plate. The indoor places are used for the residence, the clinic and a waiting lounge of the clinic. There are two glass boxes in the courtyards, which are used for pathways and entry halls of the two adjacent indoor places. The glass boxes keep the residence and the waiting lounge off the clinic for the dentist and his patients. The dentist is able to relax in the residence kept off his working place. The patients are able to relax in the waiting lounge kept off their anxieties about dental cares. They pass through the glass boxes from one indoor place to another, seeing the sun or the rain falling above their head as if they were walking outside. They change their mood while they move.

The roof slabs include post-tensioned cables in them and they have no columns and beams. The lifespan of the shell is 200 years or more. The interiors of the indoor places are built with timbers and light-gauge steels. In the future they will be remodeled without any structural constraints. If necessary, the clinic would be converted into other functions.

Both the exterior and the interior are painted white. The white zigzag structure stands out against the blue sky and green rice fields, which turn to gold in September. In the evening the interior lights emit to outside from three huge glass openings. The residence and the waiting lounge emit soft lights with the low color temperature. The clinic emits a gorgeous light with the high color temperature. The two kinds of lights form a line in contrast with each other. They emerge from the darkness, harmonizing with a calm night of the farm village. The building attracts attention from passers without any advertisements, which is restricting by an ordinance in this area.