atelier tekuto carves boltun's headquarters out of a compact concrete block in japan

atelier tekuto carves boltun's headquarters out of a compact concrete block in japan

the reconstructed boltun headquarters by yasuhiro yamashita and his studio atelier tekuto stands as an eye-catching concrete piece of architecture along a busy industrial street in saitama, japan. occupying a 115.8 m2 corner site, the building is designed to function as a warehouse, showroom and office for a moderate-size retailer handling a vast range of nuts, bolts and other architectural materials. 

all images by toshihiro sobajima



for the design process, atelier tekuto followed a similar path to that of two famous 12th and 13th-century japanese sculptors of buddha statues, unkei and kaikei, who are quoted to have said that they do not create the shapes themselves but rather ‘excavate’ the shapes embedded in the pieces of wood. connecting the spaces of the structure through continuous walls, and shaving off as much concrete as possible from its box-frame, the building’s weight is reduced by 60% compared to a regular structure of its kind. ‘the result that emerged before my eyes was a unique structure resembling the mesh-like skin of a cantaloupe,’ notes yasuhiro yamashita, ‘it was something i had never seen before, serene and refined as if i had carved out the buddha in the structure.’



working with an extremely limited budget – about 60% less than an average concrete building – the japanese studio refined the concrete structure with glazed openings, galvanized steel stairs, and minimalistic suspended handrails, designed with the utmost care not to overpower the serenity of the overall atmosphere. yasuhiro yamashita also designed some built-in furniture using only lauan plywood, a tropical hardwood material mainly used for crafts and backer boards.





project info:


main use: office

location: warabi city, saitama, japan

site area: 115.81 sqm

building area: 78.75 sqm

total floor area: 155.79 sqm

floor number: 3 stories

architecture studio: atelier tekuto

team: yasuhiro yamashita, kenji mizukami, fumi otosaka

constructional design: jun sato, shingi tarirah / jun sato structural engineers

construction management: shigeki matsuoka, shinichi uchimura, koji izawa / homebuilder co., ltd.

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