Yusuhara Town Hall
Striking connection method of new construction elements reminiscent of traditional Japanese wood constructions
Kengo Kuma&Associates, Tokio/J
K. Nakata&Associates, Tokio
The town hall of the little Japanese community of Yusuhara is a two-storey building containing public administration facilities, the chamber of industry and commerce, a bank and an IT centre. All areas are accessed via a two-storey atrium whose outer wall can be connected to the front courtyard with the aid of storey-high folding doors, leaving almost no obstruction. The facade has a chessboard-like pattern of glazed and wooden-clad zones, with the openness of each of these depending on the orientation. The entrances are marked by wooden cubes that project from the surface of the outer wall on both sides of the atrium. The almoststorey-high roof construction can be seen from the outsideof the building, between the facade and the flat roof, which overhangs on all sides. The building’s wooden skeleton structure was constructed on a one-sided trapezoid plot to a quadratic grid pattern. Almost every part of the load-bearing structure is made of locally harvested Japanese cedar. The atrium spans 17.60 metres and three to four grid units, without any supports. The load-bearing structure for this part of the roof consists ofa beam grillage constructed from laminated timber Vierendeel trusses. The roof and ceiling beams are suspended between the four-part supports. The frame formed by these beams is filled in with square, laminated timber slabs, arranged transverse to the upper and lower chords and attached to them by hidden notches and bolts – a connection method reminiscent of construction elements in traditional Japanese architecture. The construction and building systems are carefully designed to ensure a sustainableconstruction process, operational life and disposal for the building – an aim facilitated by using wood for most of the constructionelements. Despite Japan’s unique tradition of building in wood, modern wooden architecture is comparatively rare in Japan (with the exception of prefabricated houses).