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Gungin Ozekatashina Power Station

Location: Katashina Village, Gunma Prefecture, Japan

Use: Hydroelectric Power Station

Site area: 858㎡

Total floor area: 159 ㎡

Structure: Steel framed reinforced concrete structure

Year: 2024


This project is a small-scale hydroelectric power generation facility that draws water from Kurumazawa, a clear stream that flows through Katashina Village, Gunma Prefecture. From an upstream intake, the water is drawn and sent through a pipeline to the power plant downstream to generate electricity. Given that 80% of the Japanese archipelago is mountainous, small-scale hydroelectric facilities are vital in providing power. Unlike the traditional imagination of hydropower facilities with large, dammed lakes, small ones are established in mountainous areas to avoid major destruction to the natural environment. This form fits the current social environment that emphasizes landscape preservation and clean energy.

Kurumazawa is a popular destination for river fish, such as mountain trout and Japanese salmon. It is also favored by hikers who gather wild herbs. The stream is borrowed from nature and flows through the pipes buried underground on the steep slopes. Once the water has been used to generate electricity through turbines, it is returned to the stream through the spillway. Usually, power generation facilities are fenced off as off-limits zones. In this project, however, the form is more articulated. The power generator room is set half-underground near the stream. A curved retaining wall was designed to fit the topography, a detour route along a mountain road provides an entrance to the main building. A yard for maintenance and inspection is set in the front. The two plazas are connected by a bridge that allows visitors to view the water flow and the Kurumazawa Valley. The power generation facility is located at the intersection of the water route and a walkway path. It blends in with the terrain, provides a safe place for visitors to get close to the power generation facility, and a resting place for hikers to enjoy pick-up camping and barbecues accompanied by stream sounds. Furthermore, it serves as a place for public education to convey clean energy's significance as a symbiosis model between nature and humans.

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