The Wood Laboratory
Architecture for Sustainability of the Japanese forest
The aim of this project is to develop a strategy of sustainability of the Japanese forest. I define this "sustainability" as "a cyclical use of forest resources". This project allows us to discover a method of architectural design through a real understanding of the resources of the forest in Japan.
Today in Japan, forests have a large stock and the demand for tree felling is increasing. Most of today's artificial forests are coniferous forests planted in the 1950s due to the demand for building timber from the post-World War II era. However, during the period of high economic growth, we mainly used imported woods as building materials. As a result, many trees continue to grow without being used, and it is growing larger and larger in diameter. The study area is famous for its beautiful pre-modern rural landscape but there are many abandoned artificial forests.
“The Wood Laboratory" is an architectural and structural design project that allows many people to come together while preserving their forest through reforestation and " Forest Kindergarten " activities. At the beginning, I focused on non-distributable woods in the forest and categorized the wood situation into three sections: A (Thinned woods), B (Small diameter and long length woods), C (Large diameter woods). I showed specific methods for cyclical utilization of forest resources as a material flow. By utilizing small and large diameter logs for structures, my plan allows trees to be consumed on site, rather than being transported and lumbered. I have designed each architecture so that the exterior and interior spaces blend harmoniously with each natural element. First of all, we use thinned woods to create retaining walls that turn into flower beds and chairs in the forest path. Next, the Direct Sales Kiosk for farmers and residents is built using thinned woods. Then, we cut small diameter woods and built a building by taking advantage of the length of these woods. It has a space with a child‐caring office where parents can work and a café with FabLab functions for children to play. Taking advantage of the characteristics of thick, long and large diameter woods, we built a tower that allows us to look far into the forest from a high point of view. This project allows us to discover a method of architectural design through a real understanding of the resources of the forest. In conclusion, we can deduce that to create an architecture is also to know how to utilize forest resources at our disposal. Thus, architectural design can also be a social medium of sharing that utilization in a wide range of environments.