a+u Architecture and Urbanism Magazine

Kengo Kuma Shotaro Suga Sou Fujimoto Ryue Nishizawa Remarkable Japanese Timber Structures

Center Pompidou-Metz by Shigeru Ban Architects Europe

The undulating roof covers the galleries of the Center Pompidou’s annex in Metz, France. The tent-like roof is comprised of a timber lattice, woven in a hexagonal pattern.

Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum by Kengo Kuma and Associates

This bridge and museum is supported by 180 mm by 300 mm (7 inches by 11.8 inches) laminated timbers. The interlocking horizontals are supported by a single column in the middle and become progressively longer across the 47 meter (154 feet) span.

Kitazawa Kenchiku Factory by Fumiko Misawa + Masahiro Inayama

The 18 meter-wide (59 feet) span over this timber mill is necessary for moving 6 meter-long (19.7 feet) logs. The roof is supported by a unique system of trusses which interconnect, forming a dramatic three-dimensional effect.

Sea-Folk Museum by Naito Architect & Associates

This museum for fishing-related crafts has an 18.5 meter-wide (60.7 feet) roof constructed of laminated timber trusses. Sunlight fills this generous space from a central skylight, illuminating the fishing boats and assorted exhibits below.

Prostho Museum Research Center by Kengo Kuma and Associates

This building is comprised of a dense orthogonal timber lattice. The interior spaces are carved out from within the wooden matrix.

Church Sun-pu by Taira Nishizawa

The cubic chapel is clad with rough-hewn red cedar strips. The irregular surface produces an interplay of light and shadow, changing the appearance of the building at every moment and angle. Inside, the walls and ceiling are covered with horizontal pine slats. Daylight from above seeps through slits lining the ceiling and sidewalls, producing, what the architects describes as a “gauzy quality” to this sacred space.

Sumika Pavilion by Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects

The outer walls and roof of this 9 meters by 9 meters (29.5 feet by 29.5 feet) pavilion is supported by laminated timber frame arranged at 60 and 120 degree angles. Internally, four columns support the roof. The timber pattern appears random, imparting a fractured, forest-like ambience.

House of Japanese Cedar by Suga Shotaro / Suga Atelier

The structure of this residence is composed of Japanese cedar columns, fashioned from from processed forest thinnings. The composite columns and beams eliminate the need for heavy load-bearing walls. The exposed, angled, structure creates a rich and varied interior, visible through the end of the building, which is fully glazed.

Mokuzai Kaikan by Tomohiko Yamanashi / Nikken Sekkei + Takeyuki Katsuya / NSD

The headquarters of the Tokyo Lumber Wholesalers Association has a facade crafted from Japanese cypress, forming engawa porches outside each floor. In order to conform to Tokyo’s stringent fire code, the main structure is reinforced concrete. Robotic CNC cutters were used to join the timbers, adapting traditional joinery techniques.

Final Wooden House by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Designed and built for Kumamoto Artpolis, this small structure is composed of 191, 350 mm (13.8 inches) square-cut Japanese cedar logs. The wooden building blocks are simply stack to form a cubic building. Inside, the visitors find nooks to sit on and between the logs.

Woods Of Net by Takaharu + Yui Tezuka / Tezuka Architects

Interlocking timber logs are stacked to house this permanent installtion by colorful net artist Toshiko Horiuchi Macadam.