Junko Iwaya

Junko Iwaya, who is studying at the Tokyo Metropolitan University, Japan, was shortlisted in the Architects for Health’s First Student Health Design Award (2007) for the following submission. For contact please email: Junko.Iwaya@nightingaleassociates.com

‘Engawa’ School for Community Healthcare

1. Brief

The original brief was given at Tokyo Metropolitan University and developed to meet the ARB Part 2 criteria. The brief calls for a hypothetical relocation of the primary school run by Setatgaya council for 430+ pupils, of ages between 6 and 12, within a residential area in Tokyo, Japan. An integrated design was required for a building or complex of buildings that would knit together a primary health care clinic, an elderly daycare centre and a library located around the site…

2. Proposal

The proposal is for a community school and park creating different learning environments and an oasis for people as well as wildlife in a dense urban environment in order to raise the health standards of the local community in Fukazawa, Tokyo, Japan.

Today in Japan, many children suffer from being bullied at schools, which neither teachers nor parents seem able to stop. In urban areas where core family structure is dominant, communication across generation appears to be insufficient to support child development. Conversely, elderly people are isolated from their families and have to rely on community services. Also highly educated middle aged mothers who gave up work to get married or have children tend not to be able to go back to work due to a lack of skills in such things as information technology.

In research of the climate, the history of architecture and schools in Japan, traditional building technologies were found to be sustainable economically, environmentally and socially. In achieving this, ‘Engawa’ space, an intermediate space between inside and outside, is a key as a buffer zone between the inside and outside. This space also offers a place to admire the beauty of nature during the four seasons, and provides residents and their guests a space to have informal meetings.

Due to the increasing number of elderly people and falling birth rate, an urgent shift is required in meeting the healthcare and social needs of a changing society. Healthcare in the local community should not only cure people when they are ill but prevent illness by encouraging people to stay healthy by leading healthy lifestyles.

In response to the current social issues, the concept of ‘Engawa’ was applied to the community school design. The school is integrated with the community using ‘Engawa’ as a buffer space between them and allows control and flexibility of public access by being divided into three blocks:

  • A Community block
  • A Teaching block
  • A Sports hall and a swimming pool at basement level

‘Engawa’ spaces are designed as outdoor decking space to a café and classrooms and as a stage on the south side of the community block for educational and social activities.

‘Engawa’ is also a metaphor for facilities shared by the school and the local community such as green open spaces, a health clinic, a café, a sports hall and a swimming pool. They are at disposal of the community for a wide range of health related events and educational programmes throughout the year.

The ‘Engawa’ school acts as a social and educational centre for health by bringing people together to meet their needs and rebuild the community in a sustainable way. Young are reunited with the old and mothers are helped back into the world of work. This concept could be developed to apply to other public building types such as local council libraries, sports halls, parks and so on in order to improve the health standards of local communities.

The Architects for Health
First Student Health Design Award
was sponsored by


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