‘memu meadows experimental house’ by kengo kuma, hokkaido, japan
all images courtesy of kengo kuma
the farmlands in the meadows of memu, near hokkaido, enjoy beautiful natural scenery accompanied by extremes in climates. kengo kuma and
associates therefore modeled their ‘experimental house’ after the traditional ainu dwellings, or earth houses, that used natural materials to
insulate and recover the heat created from the indoor fireplace to maintain comfortable temperatures throughout the entire winter. the construct
recalls a barn typology, but differs vastly in material use. a double skin membrane is composed of a polyester fluorocarbon tarp on the outside and
a glass-fiber cloth membrane on the interior, insulated with polyester insulation from recycled PET bottles. the idea is not to create the thickest,
most solid insulation possible, but rather to use the material properties to perform in the desired way. allowing light to create a diffuse day-lit glow,
the interior enjoys a perfectly lit space that exposes the larch frame structure of the home, all the while maintaining a constant temperature.
at night the house is illuminated from the interior, as the radiant floor heating is only necessary to acclimatize the space once every few days.
the house becomes a member of its context, changing with the seasons and responding to the different conditions inside and out.
in the farm landscape
covered in snow
interior glows with the daylight
curtains partition the spaces in the interior
a central fireplace radiates heat throughout the entire space
wooden ribs exposed through the glow of the translucent skins
bathroom exists within a glass box in the corner
bright colors illuminate the snow around the home
larch wood frame structure
a steel substructure anchors the membranes, integrated seamlessly into the wood
floor plan / level 0