(JPN) Hiroki Hasegawa
Located in the Karuizawa Hoshino area, Kera Pond lies along the stream running from the Karuizawa National Wild Bird Sanctuary Forest. Originally, it was intended to be a skating rink created by stemming the flow of the stream, but it had been abandoned until recent years. Now, it has been reborn as a ‘hybrid’ skating rink, partially frozen by a refrigerant pipe and partially naturally frozen, so it can be used constantly for an extended period. In the summer the pond is home to a variety of forest creatures, and in winter it turns into a skating rink, efficiently managed with a modern technology. There is an emphasis on preserving nature’s narrative; the pond freezes in winter, upon which people can ice-skate.
As runoff from the Wild Bird Sanctuary Forest flows into the pond, the pond’s water level fluctuates greatly due to seasonal change and rainfall variability. Therefore, a mechanism has been installed to control the water level, while water appears to flow naturally. During the planning process, Picchio, the wildlife interpreter who manages and operates the site, requested that the pond be utilized as an area for them to run observation programs between spring and fall. Owing to our careful planning, the pond has taken form not only as a picturesque and functional space, but a host of biodiversity conservation too. We designed waterways and revetment to create waterflow even in winter in such a way that facilitates the inhabitation of living organisms, who can now make it through the winter. We created an area for them to stay throughout these colder months by creating an unfreezable channel and varying the water’s depth.
The pond’s network of islands and coves has been carefully designed with particular attention to its microclimate, allowing visitors to appreciate the changeability of its course, creating a narrative along its path. Control of the waterflow serves as the basis for the pond’s design, a concept which informed the idea of creating a land area by raising the bottom of the pond, where ice tends to start melting at the beginning of spring, or making islands in the middle of the pond in order to avoid stagnant water. The sense of depth and dynamism, born of this careful arrangement, offers an enjoyable experience for the pond’s visitors.
The path which frames the pond cuts through the Hoshino area, connecting Harunire Terrace and the Wild Bird Sanctuary Forest. This gently winding road was so designed that it crosses the natural bank on the north side, creating an environment where walking itself is an enjoyable activity. The ice rink is not enshrouded by fences or railings, instead, a boardwalk encircles the water, used as a sitting area or handrail for skaters in winter and for strolling during summer months. We have also provided benches along the boardwalk and around the visitor center, and created sitting areas in various places around the pond such as the observation deck and the terrace, where visitors can sit back and relax.
Project Location: Karuizawa Hoshino area
Size: 3 200 m2
Field: Skating rink
Architecture: Klein Dytham architecture (KDa)
Structural Design: KAP Co.,Ltd.
Lighting Design : Illumination of City Environment (ICE)
Structural Design: KAP Co.,Ltd.
Date of Completion: 2016.07
Photo credit: Makoto Yoshida
Translator: ZHUANG Hang
Proofreader: SUN Yue, MA Jia
Editor: LIU Yuxia