Who loves a god construction in concrete? Tokyo was a city of wood, constructed on a human scale. Kengo Kuma and Associates’s petite cypress-slatted building for Sunny Hills.
After being asked to design the shop and office, to stand on a corner in the residential district of Aoyama, Kengo Kuma hit upon the idea of a facade composed of thin wooden slats intersecting diagonally like branches in a grove of trees.
Kuma gave the joints, typically right angles, a more streamlined 30-degree/150-degree configuration, layered the latticework into a three-dimensional grid, and magnified it to building scale. Modeled with Rhinoceros and SketchUp software and assembled by hand, the intricate design was then constructed in Japanese cypress.
Filtering through the latticework, the sunshine epitomizes SunnyHills. Its pineapple cake is sold at concrete counters that rise seamlessly from the floor. The effect is unlike anything Tokyo’s 19th-century carpenters could have imagined—yet somehow in line with their sensibility.
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