jorge almazán architects turns derelict sake warehouse into a creative hub
jorge almazán architects turns derelict sake warehouse into a creative hub jorge almazán architects turns derelict sake warehouse into a creative hub
sep 12, 2016

jorge almazán architects turns derelict sake warehouse into a creative hub


in yamanashi prefecture, japan, jorge almazán architects and the keio university almazán lab have given a new lease of life to the warehouse of a former sake brewery. located in the provincial town of ichikawamisatocho, the conversion of the ‘kura’ — a traditional japanese warehouse — is intended to revitalize what would otherwise be in danger of becoming an architectural urban void.





previously part of a wider brewery compound, the site of the renovation is an integral part of the local landscape. the building is in close proximity to a main shopping street and is connected to a number of alleys and pathways through the adjacent area. due to its severe state of decay, the owner chose to partially demolish the structure, leaving many of the walls damaged and lending to the overall visual decline of the area.

the building is an integral part of the local urban landscape
all photographs by © montse zamorano



after several months of collaboration with a local community group, jorge almazán architects has entirely repurposed the building as a shared public amenity. keen to preserve the rural character and traditional japanese aesthetic of the building, the studio was likewise eager for the design to meet the ever changing needs of the modern, urban community in which it is placed. now a multi-functional community for exhibitions, meetings, conferences or performances, the studio has retained the more traditional aspects of the structure in its use of an historic, japanese repertoire of materials and elements.

reconceptualized as a communal space for exhibitions and performance



where possible, the original roof tiles were preserved, while a wooden wainscot — native to many kura warehouses — was installed in order to protect the lower section of the exterior walls. to modernize the space and to aid in the accommodation of exhibitions and productions, lighting rails and spotlights were installed along the roof and are used to illuminate the space at night.

poured cement stepping stones demarcate the exterior site



on the western side of the building, a wooden stage extends into and through the exterior wall, and allows the interior hall to open out into the surrounding landscape for performance and play. outside, the project once more integrates new and old in the use of traditional japanese stepping stones, contemporary in their use of poured cement. the stones are intended to subtly reinforce activities and movement in the garden: large stones accommodate seated audiences, while small stones act as a new public circulation connecting the main shopping street to the back alley.

a traditional wooden wainscot wraps the exterior



the new construction returns ownership of the site to the inhabitants of the town, turning what was once a derelict and dangerous building into a creative and communal space. jorge almazán architects hopes that the project be used as an example of how forsaken buildings in smaller, more provincial cities can be used as a source of rejuvenation and creative inspiration.

the building presents a convergence of the contemporary and traditional

a wooden stage bisects the western wall, opening the space to the surrounding garden

the new design is in constant conversation with the surrounding town


evolution of the building




project info:


architects: jorge almazán + keio university almazán lab.
design team: jorge almazán, gaku inoue, shota takayama, nozomi shimizu, tomoya tsuji, maho sugiyama, moe kusano, rieka hara
location: ichikawamisato, yamanashi, japan
type: renovation
year: 2016


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: peter corboy | designboom

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