This concrete building may look like its draped in a transparent bridal veil, but its sculptural exterior serves a bigger function than just looks. Architecture firm Kengo Kuma and Associates converted a former office building into the Fa-bo showroom for textile company Komatsu Seiren, and anchored the building to the ground with carbon-fiber rods for earthquake protection. Located in Nomi, the building is topped with a green roof and shows off the technology of the client company both inside and out.
Formerly a nondescript boxy building, the 2,874-square-meter Komatsu Seiren Fabric laboratory fa-bo now draws the eye with its turfed roof and sculptural facade. The carbon-fiber strands, created by the client company, are made up of a thermoplastic carbon fiber composite called CABKOMA Strand Rod that’s considered the lightest seismic reinforcement in the world. The material’s high tensile strength and flexibility makes the rods “ten times stronger than iron,” write the architects. “This is the very first time that this material was used as a means of reinforcement against earthquakes.” Gaps left between the strands demarcate building entrances.
The lightweight carbon fiber composites can also be found in the interior, which feature white draped fabrics that mimic the sculptural facade. The green roof is topped with another Komatsu Seiren product called Greenbiz, porous and spongy ceramic panels made from waste material in carbon fiber production.
Images via Kengo Kuma and Associates