Japan-based Tetsuo Kobori Architects built a research and development space just about anyone would love to work in, but it’s reserved for the folks who work on ROKI’s automotive filtration technology. The ROKI Global Innovation Center, situated in the city of Hamamatsu in Japan’s western Shizuoka Prefecture, is a sprawling wooden and steel structure with many eco-friendly elements. The design takes advantage of natural light and passive airflow, and it features sliding doors that blur the line between outside and in, and an energy management system that keeps carbon emissions low.
The ROKI Global Innovation Center or “ROGIC,” as its designers nicknamed it, maximizes natural light with plentiful windows, most of which can be opened, as well as skylights to allow daylight to replace artificial interior lighting. That feature alone saves up to 35 percent of the building’s lighting energy. Allowing fresh air to flow through the building from the nearby Tenryu River and adjacent forest reduces the need for air conditioning, cutting the heating and cooling load by an estimated 52 percent. Together, taking advantage of nature’s ability to provide light and ventilation help cut the building’s overall energy footprint by a significant margin.
In addition to being energy efficient, the building is a fantastic example of natural design elements fused with technology. A Japanese paper-like filter ceiling, wooden flooring, plastered walls, and cedar wood furniture represent the nation’s rich relationship with nature, and serve to help remind ROGIC workers of the changing seasons and the powerful forces of the Earth.
Construction on the building was completed in late 2013 after 18 months of work, which followed more than a year of design development. The pillarless office complex was selected by the Model Project for Promoting CO2 Reduction in Houses and Buildings, sponsored by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism. With this powerful example of beautiful design, inspired connection to nature, and planet-friendly energy usage, ROGIC’s design will be used to influence future generations of eco-friendly architects to create more sustainable places for business innovations to be born.