KAPPA - a floating platform on Lake Biwa

Rebecca Baer
Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Hochschule Luzern – Technik & Architektur, Horw

Idea projektu

The woodblock print by Hiroshige 'Clearing Weather at Awazu' from the Edo period shows a piece of Lake Biwa in Japan as it no longer exists today. Large industrial halls and school buildings now stand where giant pine trees once lined the lakeshore.

The idea of the project is to use this lake shore as a place where people could gather again, a place for different cultural activities. A place like a circus – where everything is possible. These thoughts then lead to the question, why the project should be fixed in one place. Why not use a floating structure on the lake, that can change its location on lake Biwa and therefore be used in each of the 8 strips - each of them representing one of the 8 views of Omi by Hiroshige?

Popis projektu

And this is how KAPPA was born – a floating pavilion on lake Biwa. Like its namesake, the Japanese mythical creature Kappa, it is found in water and can take on a variety of different forms. Its flexibility and different components are its greatest advantages.

The floating pavilion stays for 1 or 2 months in each of the strips, and then be transported to the next one. It hosts a different function in each of the strips: once KAPPA is a theater, once an open air cinema and at the next place a restaurant. While the platform only is in one place for a few weeks a year, its dock is permanent in each of the strips, and is a constant reminder that Kappa is coming back in the following year.

Technické informace

Kappa offers a lot of flexibility. More or less all of its walls are foldable to open up the whole floor plan. Additionally, parts of the roofs can be folded up on both sides of the pavilion. The curtains also contribute to the flexibility.

From an energetic point of view, Kappa is completely self-sufficient. In summertimes cross ventilation is possible, water evaporation provides additional cooling. The textiles, curtains and the roofs provide shading and also protection from the rain. Additionally there are photovoltaic cells on the roofs and the rainwater is collected, purified and then stored inside the pontoons/tanks on the bottom of the platform.

But summer season is also typhoon season: The two roofed parts on the sides of the platform can be closed completely by sliding doors and the foldable walls. All the textiles can be removed temporary to reduce the wind attack area of the building even more.

During winter season, Kappa is completely closed to keep the warmth inside and as a weather protection. The middle part of the pavilion forms kind of an intermediate climate with the textile roof of the folded crown. With the change of the orientation of Kappa, the solar gain can be maximized.

The platform itself consists of an inherently stable wooden structure that is constructed onto several interconnected metal pontoons. All of the wood joints are bending resistant tong joints. The pontoons on the bottom can be filled up with rainwater to increase the stability of the platform by lowering its center of mass.


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