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Koban or small Police Station designed by  Klein Dytham Architecture, located in Kumamoto, in the southern most island of Japan. Year of execution: 2011. Possibly the friendliest and most cheerful police station in the world (by it’s looks, at least).

After a new bullet train station was built in city of Kumamoto, the area around the station was made into a sand box for architects. The program is called Artpolis and is lead  by Toyo Ito, who was the one that commissioned this police station.

Big white circles on the top part of the façade allow pastel rainbow colours painted on the inner shell to shine through:

Koban police station in Kumamoto 1 Koban police station in Kumamoto 2

The external colour-coding of the station is a part of architect’s interesting ideas. For anyone living in Japan it looks like a Japanese police car: white top, black bottom and red lamps. Very clever design move.

Koban police station in Kumamoto 3 Koban police station in Kumamoto 4

Maybe the friendliness and playfulness of the Koban’s façade was that attracted a group of very friendly  school-kids, who really wanted to talk with me (I wish I knew about what) and photo-bombed some shots:

Koban police station in Kumamoto 5

Different colours of different shades are visible when you move around the station, that makes this building very dynamic.

Koban police station in Kumamoto 6

This part of the town has buried the power-lines and the sky of this whole area is power-line free.

Koban police station in Kumamoto 7

Good path to take and a perfect example for an institutional architecture.

This building is well known and probably seen before many times, but here I present my personal experiences and the building is indeed great!

Click to enlarge

In 2004 the Oslo city government held a competition and Snøhetta architects won and executed the building.
Latter, in 2008 it was awarded in World Architecture Festival as a category winner.

Not only that I came into the Opera House several times (as well as walked around it), I also took a guided tour inside the building to see the areas what are normally closed for the visitors. Sadly no photos allowed in the backstage and other areas. During the tour it was very interesting to find out that there is a hidden inner courtyard with pretty landscaped garden in the middle. Around the courtyard rehearsal rooms and offices circle around.

Another amazing thing about this building is that it’s appearance changes with the weather. As you can see in the photos, the building blends in the surroundings completely: when it is grey and gloomy, it looks like just another ice lump; during colourful sunset, the buildings sparkles in the evening sun. It would be nice to see how it looks and feels during warm summer months.

Click to enlarge

Interior is designed by several designers.

The exterior of the building possesses power and elegance, while the interior is softer.

From the explorations of an area I am living now. Several apartment blocks in Vahepere street, Kakumae finished in 2005:

click to enlarge

Found units in these buildings for sale (if anyone interested), however the interior can be disappointing. As rephrasing a popular proverb: you can take a person out of a soviet block, but you cannot take the soviet block out of him.
As seen in the ads, the building looks even better in winter.

Just to be very clear: the name “Tetris” is my own invention, it is not an official name.

Extension and renovation building in Rue du Peuplier, Brussels.

click to enlarge

This was photographed during unusually sunny summer of 2011, hopefully this snow white building looks as good against more common grey sky too.
I did not succeed to find who designed the building nor any other photos of the project on the Internet. If you happen to know the architect’s name I would be more than happy to add this information.

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