Location: Sapporo, Japan.


Sapporo Sosei Square is a complex facility located in central Sapporo, Japan, which was planned through a public-private partnership redevelopment project. The facility includes public spaces such as a theater and library, as well as businesses, facilities that support the surrounding area, an indoor parking lot, and a public bicycle parking lot. The public spaces were designed to take into account the urban center structure of Sapporo and the climate of Hokkaido. A plaza was created at a corner of the site, which loosely connects the complex with the surrounding city blocks. Covered walks along the streets within the site provide comfort for pedestrians in rain and snow. Nakadori Street, a characteristic street of Sapporo’s city block structure, was turned into an indoor walkway to enhance circulation within the building and accessibility to each facility. The complex also includes a large atrium space, SCARTS Mall, which vertically connects the adjacent café, library, and event studio to form a continuation of the bustle and vigor in a vertical direction, creating an indoor communication space tailored for a city known for snow and cold. The theater in this complex will be a hub for disseminating the art and culture of Sapporo. The theater hall is the first theater in northern Japan having a multi-stage design, which has additional stage areas (equally large as the main stage) to the right, left, and rear of the main stage. The theater has 2,302 seats equipped to host full-scale performing arts productions such as operas and ballets. The seating area was designed as divided blocks of balconies that are raked to provide optimum sight lines to the stage from every seat. The shapes of the ceiling reflectors, walls, and balconies were determined after repeated experiments with models and audio simulations to realize clear and powerful acoustics. Overall, the public spaces in this complex were designed with a focus on spatial connections and relationships to link the building to the city, enrich people’s activities, and ultimately enhance the city’s appeal. The theater with the ultimate visibility and sound enhances a sense of unity between the stage and the audience, and provides a space suitable for experiencing the most exceptional performing arts. The hope is that this building will be a catalyst for more thoughtful and useful public spaces that contribute to Sapporo’s urban renewal.

Photo credit: Kindaikenchikusya, Niitu Photo, Hayato Mine, kotobukiseating, Nacása & Partners Inc., Takehiro Kawamura.