Between the sunset and sunrise
Why do we sleep? Not only human, but elephants, dolphins, seals and even leguminous plants do sleep as well. Study on sleep has just been started, yet many parts remain unexplained. IIIS, which is led by Professor Masashi Yanagisawa is one of the “World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI)” conducted by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. World’s leading researchers gather in this institute and working on to elucidate this mysterious mechanism of sleep. The project area is located in the untouched forest in University of Tsukuba. If you go through the forest, there is a small pond and the sunlight down through the trees shimmers on the surface of the pond. Wind blows through branches of trees and make pleasant rustling sound. I wanted to make a laboratory which consists of both this tranquil environment and open and vivacious environment, just like a relationship between sleep and awakening. Upper levels, (4th and 5th floor) is a facility for mice and it is a barriered facility where you can observe minor actions and slight changes of mice. From the 1st to 3rd floor, where it is closest to the trees of the forest, is a laboratories and office floors. Researchers can work on their studies, wrapped in shimmering light through the trees, feeling nature close to them. There is a stairwell in the center of the building where sleeping pig parent and child flies. Around this stairwell, we have put a pace where you can make a note of anything came to your mind while enjoying a cup of coffee. If you go down the spiral staircase to the ground floor, you will reach to the terrace deck. I could imagine the scene that world’s top researchers gather in the deck, feeling relaxed and comfortable and talk about unknown mechanisms of sleep.