This beautiful center, built to train the leaders of outdoor youth activities, takes a cue from traditional Japanese architectural style - it's a single, succinct design that blends in with the outdoors. Kengo Kuma & Associates sought to integrate the building with the land so that guests would feel immersed in nature. What they came up with was a simple A-frame design that evokes the aesthetics of old structures typical of rural environments. Environmentally conscious from the outside-in, the project also incorporates a host of sustainable building strategies.
The 45-degree roof of the Ando Momofuku Centre makes not only for a more rural feeling in the mountains just west of centrally located Koromo, Japan, but its integration of the building with the land was pivotal. The hilly site undulates just below the building, making it feel as though the structure was simply laid onto the ground. The building was placed into the unaltered slope and clad in metal panels of three different blue hues to help the building blend with the landscape like a massive stone face. Windows and doors are set low and deep to connect the interior to the exterior, but avoid summer heat gain. Natural cooling also helps with the reduction of air conditioning.
Rainwater rolling off the steep roof is collected and directed to an outdoor pool. The deep ribs on the exterior are mirrored inside to add visual interest and absorb ambient sound in the large halls. Bedrooms placed above peer out to the landscape, keeping visitors rooted in the place wherever they are. Perhaps the most interesting space is at the end where the roof lifts on both side to give an unencumbered view of the woods just beyond.