JAPAN PROJECTSPROJECT DETAILS
Ofunato Tsunami Museum
Background of Proposed Project and Location
On March 11th, 2011, a lot of precious lives were lost due to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The 40% of the victims did not evacuate, 19.5% of them were on the way to the evacuation zone and 5.9% returned to their home. According to this fact, about 65% of the victims’ lives should have saved if they made appropriate evacuation activities. Despite the Ofunato-city’s coastal levee, whose height was 10m, a lot of people were killed by the tsunami. It has been revealed that it made some of the victims overestimate the capacity of the coastal levee, and hence they did not evacuate, or they returned back home although they had once evacuated.
While we human beings have believed that we succeeded in controlling the nature to a certain degree thanks to the development of the civilization, the Tsunami disaster forced us to realize that our existence is merely tiny before the significance of the Tsunami. Now is the time to learn that we human beings are supposed to reconsider how to coexist with the nature by showing our respect to it, and we need to build a sustainable society from scratch. Nonetheless, we have to admit that the memory of the Tsunami disaster has been losing attention from people in the world. We believe that the reason of this decline in the attention is due to the absence of consecutive information. And we have a concern that we human beings restart to focus on how to conquer the nature rather than coexistence of it as we forget the sense of awe before nature.
The citizens of Ofunato-city will mainly contribute to the project and build The Tsunami Memorial Museum to convey the knowledge and experience such as 1.Outrageous power of the nature and tsunami 2. Unbeaten mind of human beings and 3. Gift from the nature to the future generation. The Tsunami Memorial Museum will be utilized for the source of the visual information through the education to the children.
Contribution to Rebuilding
By constructing The Tsunami Memorial Museum, We believe that we will be able to offer children in Japan and overseas essential opportunities to deeply think about how to keep a sustainable society in which we coexist with the nature. Also, we believe that the citizens of Ofunato-city will be closely united through the construction of The Tsunami Memorial Museum from scratch and the management of the project over the future, leading to build a robust fundamental for the future rebuilding of Ofunato-City.
We will consecutively transmit our aforementioned knowledge and experience of the Tsunami disaster through the education of the children for a hundred years, a thousand years and even five thousand years.
Design Concept by Ted Tokio Tanaka, FAIA:
I met Mr. Saito for the first time last November at the museum project site in Ofunato. I have seen Mr. Saito’s dramatic video several times since 3.11. His video documentation of how the tsunami came into Ofunato and swept away his community has been viewed by millions of people around the world. He is one of the few person motivated to reach out to sustain the awareness of the 3.11 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. His vision for the museum will capture and exhibit once in a 1000 years devastation for his community, visitors and future generation to view and learn. Like Mr. Saito, my wife is a tsunami survivor. She confronted with tsunami at Kesenuma where she narrowly escaped and spent more than 36 hours on the roof of a steel frame building surrounded by tsunami, fire and falling snow. Our lives have not been same since that day. She is lucky to be alive. My wife lost 15 relatives, father’s house and hospital building. And most of all their family history was swept away.
Since my first visit to Ofunato in May of 2011, I Having visited Ofunato numerous times and experienced and heard stories of tragedy countless times. My impression of the aftermath of tsunami during my first visit was like my childhood memory of Tokyo after the war.
My design concept for the museum derives from the program requirements of the museum and what I have seen and experienced in Tohoku since the 3.11. First of all I want to provide a functional and a beautifully designed large volume of flexible space lit by ample amount of natural light during the day time for exhibit and learning. I want to utilize local carpentry method and style to create an exposed timber roof structure supported by concrete exterior walls. The configuration, massing and roof material of the museum structures are inspired by the character of the local buildings including many that were swept away.
I want the building to reflect the memory of 3.11 devastation. The building will provide memorial wall for the victims and a place for the remaining of the City’s symbolic clock. I want the building to express “story telling”.