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Architecture (MA)

Noriyuki Ishii

Noriyuki graduated in architecture at the Royal College of Art and The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. His projects at the RCA are committed to reuse and approaches to sustainability, where architecture and environment are seen as equivalent. Prior and throughout his studies, he has worked in practice on a number of cultural projects at 6a architects.

Space suits, with air-conditioners for use on ground, NASA, 1965

Critical Comfort negotiates the space between minimum comfort and the ceiling of the critical zone within which life on earth depends. The project reimagines instead of demolishing an existing building in the City of London as communal housing, saving energy by questioning the normative conditioning of interiors and cultural preconceptions of thermal comfort. Heating and cooling is considered foremost as an anthropological issue through use and habit, beyond a purely technical necessity of buildings. Expanding the sealed envelope fed by machines, the proposal follows a logic of heating less and bringing the thermal line closer to inhabitants, where thermal conditions may start to determine alternative, more thrilling ways of living, one that is closer to the joys of weather. 

Existing plans of Bastion House and former Museum of London
The project proposes to reuse Bastion House, a recently vacant office tower, and the former Museum of London below. The buildings were designed by Powell & Moya and built in 1976.
Photograph survey of Bastion House and former Museum of London
The site is situated on the southern corner of the Barbican Estate, surrounding the Ironmonger’s Hall and adjacent to medieval bastions that once formed the city wall.
Sections of Bastion House and former Museum of London
The tower is a generic stack of thirteen typical floors and the museum is a pedestal highly specific to the complexities of the plot, negotiating multiple level changes. They form two distinct elements of the same building, both with a concrete structure.
Photograph survey of Bastion House and former Museum of London
The site is owned by the City of London Corporation, who plan to demolish everything and build an enormous quantity of speculative office in steel and glass...
Existing axonometric, whole life carbon graph and sun path
...disregarding their own whole life carbon assessment which shows new-build always emits significantly more than renovation.
Existing photographs of Bastion House and Museum of London
The project proposes to meet a planetary brief (the City’s own carbon targets). To achieve this, reuse is necessary and likely much cheaper to construct.
Sketch section diagram of arrangement of uses
The building, deemed unable to meet current office ideals whilst vacancy is higher than ever, requires an alternative, higher value programme, in the form of a more generous version of ‘co-living’.
1:200 model of existing structure
The tower houses dormitory dwellings for single occupants with adaptable co-housing apartments in the former museum for various family arrangements alongside collective uses including working spaces, daycare, sauna and canteen.
Proposed tower typical plan
Proposed Typical Plan
Proposed Typical Floor Plan, Layers
Typical Plan, Demolition, Proposed and Heating
Perspective of personal room, in summer and winter
Room (Summer and Winter) – Easily movable furniture encourages temporal arrangements of living space that might change throughout the seasons.
Perspective of shared bathroom and personal sink
AM/PM – Each room has a personal sink as a counterpart to the shared bathroom.
Stove redesigned for more than one person
Stove – Questioning inherited standards of efficiency and domesticity. A stove redesigned for use by more than one person, becoming also a place to gather around.
Perspective of collective shoe tower and hand washing basin
Shoe Tower – Taking off shoes before entering the collective floor, as a subtle attempt to expand the sense of individual responsibility from room to building.
Perspective of heated table
Heated Table – Large heated tables are used in winter, as a centre of activities, where thermal conditions might begin to form social rituals rather than through programme.
Perspective of spot heating and insulate curtains
Spot Heating – Insulating curtains enclose parts of the living spaces around heated spots in the floor, conserving heat in a smaller area.
Envelope detail section, proposed and existing
Expanding the sealed envelope, letting the weather back in. The existing facade material is removed, refurbished and reassembled to form the new envelope. Existing concrete structure is exposed to use its thermal mass to regulate temperature.
Perspective of proposed facade envelope
Envelope – At first glance it appears that not much has changed, but it operates on the opposite principle – not sealed, but open to air and light, in some places without glass at all.
Proposed section drawing
Proposed transformations aim to reintroduce a ‘mid-scale’ between body and building to mediate climatic conditions using furniture, opening windows, external shading, vegetation. This is nothing new...
Perspective of proposed exterior with medieval bastion in foreground
Bastion House – Prioritising simple climatic instruments easily adjusted by inhabitants. The mid-scale is ultimately about allowing people to control their own comfort.
1:50 model of proposed typical plan
Proposed co-housing in former museum
In the former museum, duplex apartments as mezzanines are inserted into the double-height galleries, recalling the peculiar indoor streets of the original museum displays – small buildings within a building surrounded by unheated buffer zones open to appropriation.
Perspective of proposed interior of former museum
Street – Unheated buffer is both technical and social. Here, occasional dinners with neighbours, serendipitous conversations or shared after school childcare might take place.
Proposed lower ground, ground and podium plans
For the whole site, reconciliating the relationship to the ground through landscape. Making porous, defining courtyards, creating a clearer front door.
Perspective of courtyard and logistics
Courtyard and Logistics – Last mile delivery infrastructure occupies the lower ground floor, adding more economic value by simply appropriating the existing service road. The central courtyard is rediscovered as a planted garden, letting in daylight and organising the building.
Proposed section
Opening the opaque facade of the former museum to the neighbouring garden and the Barbican Estate. Large sliding sections are opened in summer, with activities spilling outdoors. Interior and exterior become a bit ambiguous.
Perspective of proposed former museum facade, opened in summer
Open Air – The project tries to depart from the sacrifice often associated with sustainability, instead making changes that could lead towards alternative, more thrilling ways of living, one that is closer to the joys of climate.
Photo essay book