Nagoya Zokei University is a renowned art and design university in Japan’s fourth most populous city. When it chose to move its entire campus from the outskirts of the city into the bustling urban centre, severe physical limitations on the new site and potential exposure to earthquakes were the catalysts for a highly innovative and inventive building design.

Arup provided structural engineering, seismic design, and mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) services for the 20,917m2 project, which has a subway station and line running below the site.

The building houses a wide variety of sustainable facilities that delivers a creative and diverse learning space, including an arena, library, gallery, 13 types of specific classrooms and a large studio located on the fourth floor. The university also has a central art street, passing through the building and featuring a large roof that offers a semi-outdoor space to encourage the local community to interact through art.

Structural engineering achieves a robust structure above a station

As the university sits above Meijo Koen Station on the Nagoya Municipal Subway, the loadbearing capacity is limited. To avoid significant load to the upper part of the station, Arup adopted a 40m long cross-layer steel truss to realise a huge 104m x 104m studio on the fourth floor of the building. This is supported by four cores to envision the one-room studio space.

Seismic design 

The architectural plan posed difficulties to placing reinforced concrete (RC) seismic walls within each core. To ensure quality performance, we adopted the highly transparent, earthquake-resistant outframe hybrid lattice walls to connect the foundation and the fourth floor, which houses a large ratio of building mass and horizontal forces.

By wrapping each core with lattice walls, we minimised the required seismic walls for the interior space and enhanced sustainability. 

Sustainable infrastructure 

The lattice walls are an important design and structural element that reduce direct sunlight into the interior and allow natural ventilation along with the protruding balcony on the fourth floor, alleviating the load of the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

Apart from the lattice walls, Arup covered the 6,000m² studio with a floor cooling and heating radiation system that controls the floor surface and room temperature. This lowers overall energy consumption whilst improving indoor thermal comfort.

Facilities management

In terms of management, the electrical system operates separately in the building’s different floors and areas, including special rooms of each department. Data and performance of equipment, including lighting, HVAC, ventilation, hot water and power outlets are also individually monitored.

By introducing the building management system, energy waste can be reduced by 10% and Arup can facilitate more effective facility management.