Hiroshima: Visitors Flock to Unique Fire Station Designed by Pritzker Winner; All-Glass Building

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Hiroshima Nishi Fire Station in Nishi Ward, Hiroshima

HIROSHIMA — A unique fire station with a glass exterior in Hiroshima is attracting the attention of tourists.

The Hiroshima Nishi Fire Station building was designed by renowned architect Riken Yamamoto.

Since the news broke this March that he had won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, widely regarded as the architectural equivalent of a Nobel Prize, an increasing number of people have been coming to see the building, according to officials.

The concept behind Yamamoto’s design was “a firefighting facility that is approachable and open to the public.” Accordingly, the exterior of the fire station is covered with about 2,400 long and narrow glass louvers.

The building has one basement floor and eight stories above ground, and was completed in 2000. Even from outside, visitors can look in on the station’s about 70 employees at work. Because it is a fire station, the lights never go out, even at night.

In addition to those requesting to tour the building, an increasing number of Japanese and foreign visitors have been seen pointing their smartphones at the station from the street and taking photos of its skeleton-like rectangular structure.

Perhaps the fact that the fire station is under constant watch will make the firefighters even more vigilant in keeping the city safe.