Three truckloads of timber were assembled on a diagonal plan to create a facade that is both rustic and modern, making a feature of the varying tones and widths of wood. Designer Kodai hopes the project will encourage more architects to specify timber offcuts, “The Japanese timber industry is weakening due to the cheap supply of timber from abroad and there are many lumber mills that carry unsold timber stocks,” he said.
“These leftover timbers are very difficult to make profitable, as any kind of additional production process – such as making them into wood chip – costs more than the sale value.”
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At the heart of the home is a double height living room featuring a high library wall and a central staircase. In the narrow ceiling void, a rope swing for the children hangs temptingly. Three bedrooms sit on the level above, and the open plan spaces bask in daylight. “The juxtaposition of the other volumes was carefully adjusted according to views, sceneries and surrounding greeneries,” explained Kodai.
The arrangement of the volumes maximizes natural heating and cooling “The most efficient way to harvest solar energy is to place living spaces towards the south, and utility rooms to the north,” explained Kodai. “The composition of stacked volumes above the ground floor was the result of a simulated airflow pattern.”The tea room up in the three story tower acts like a chimney to encourage air to flow up through the space.
Kodai formerly worked with Herzog and de Meuron. He established Sandwich with Yoshitaka in 2013, and along with other artists, architects and graphic designers, they work out of a former sandwich factory in Kyoto.