Deep in the woods of the Tama Mountain near Tokyo, Japan lies a rustic timber structure designed by Atelier Haretoke. The workshop, built to accompany a timber company, was built from the very same wood that the company harvests. This relationship between the land, function, and materials makes the Workshop in the Forest a unique structure that highlights the idea of recycling technology.
The single story structure hugs the side of a road in between a mountain and the forest from which the beams were harvested. Surrounded by tall trees, the workshop looks more like a cozy log cabin than a wood working facility. Atelier Haretoke took the relationship of the wood to the site into consideration when designing all aspects of the structure. The gently sloping roof mimics the incline and topography of the hill in which it sits, sloping down toward the woods. This slope also creates a natural path for rainwater run off, guiding it toward the lower hill.
Built by local carpenters, the building’s façade is made of long, uninterrupted planks of local Tama timber. Small gaps are left for the windows, with a continuous strip of glass lining the top of the wall on both sides of the building, to ensure thorough daylight within the workshop. The front and end caps of the structure are glass, allowing views of the forest and natural light, as well as strengthening the relationship between the workshop and the land. They also slide open, to allow cross breezes within the building.
The interior was left with exposed beams on both the walls and ceiling to accentuate the quality of the timber. Workers within the Workshop in the Forest can enjoy a serene environment, allowing them to wood work within the very trees they’ve harvested from.