Aore Nagaoka is a masterpiece structure based on art and convenience. Designed by world-renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, it’s no wonder that this government office has become a tourist destination. It does not only serve aesthetic purposes but effectively caters to the needs of both locals and tourists. Every detail speaks not only of beauty but also function.
Naohisa TSUCHIDA on Flickr
Nakadoma. (A central square space with a roof) Here, both locals and tourists gather to enjoy the attractive modern architecture of Aore Nagoka City Hall. There are convenience stores and coffee shops where people can relax and shop. The space radiates an open and free atmosphere but also protects you from any weather changes due to the smart design of the roof. The space serves many purposes – meeting point, pictorial venue, a space for an afternoon walk or a morning jog, etc. Sometimes, it is also used for live concerts and exhibits.
Assembly Hall. The assembly hall, where government officials hold their meetings, is surrounded by clear glass walls and is conveniently visible from the Nakadoma. The hall is equipped with state-of-the-art tools. Meetings are relayed to cable TV, uploaded on the Internet by a high-definition camera and broadcast on the FM radio.
Aside from the assembly hall, most of the offices including the mayor’s, are also surrounded by glass walls. Sometimes, the mayor can be seen waving and saying, “Hi” from his office to elementary school children who are visiting for a field trip. This design commendably promotes transparency and cordiality from the government side.
Hall. Citizens, by doing the necessary reservations, can use meeting rooms, the arena and concert halls which are all visually appealing without or with minimal charges.
There is also a 3D theater room, with a 240-inch screen, which is used to show images from the Nagaoka Summer Fireworks Festival. The room can be used for recitals and presentations as well.
Arena. The arena of the city hall can accommodate up to 5,000 people and can be arranged in various layouts as the stage and seats are moveable. It can be utilized as a concert hall or a sports arena depending on the event.
General Counter. One of the most helpful services of the city hall is the general counter where citizens can come in for consultation regarding processes such as certificate issuance. They offer “one-stop” service wherein customers/citizens can stay at one window for multiple processes, providing the customers/citizens comfortability and convenience.
Directions and guidelines are conveniently placed on the pillars, with symbols and English translations. Japanese hospitality at its best!
But these are not even the half of it: there are still so many things to see in Aore such as the frontal garden and the office for disaster countermeasures. Nagaoka may not be comparable to Tokyo’s bustle but the city certainly has its own vigor and warmth. Visiting Aore Nagaoka is a great way to see Japan’s remarkable skill for design, efficiency and hospitality. It’s also a great way to learn from the local government on how to offer the best public service to its citizens.