space lab by kohki hiranuma architect & associates
photography by shigeta satoshi of nacasa & partners inc.
all images courtesy of kohki hiranuma architect & associates




constructed by discarded wood, ‘space lab’, by kohki hiranuma architect & associates, sits at the university of tokyo as an expressional form to address the diminishing resources of the environment. the ‘azumaya’ or folly, is an experimental space composed of cedar beams that have been collected as unsuitable material for other buildings. the timber structure is defined by using just two shapes of planks (38 x 89mm and 51 X 89mm). when joined together, gaps are created providing randomly distributed light portals that capture varying luminescence based on the season.


the design-build project is also an investigation of four years of research testing the strength of the shelter due to internal and external bending stresses. intended to be embedded with the surrounding nature, ‘space lab’ serves many purposes, from shelter to exhibition hall. ‘this ‘azumaya’ architecture of today does not separate inside and outside, and is expected to be variably used for a promotion of domestic materials to just a resting space. and finally this architecture, which utilizes domestic thinned materials, shows one way of regeneration the balance of nature we have destroyed’.

slight bends in the roof have been researched in strength tests for over four years

gaps on the homogeneous wall provide random lighting into the space

a slanting roof also lends light through openings between the wooden beams

sparse lighting is also installed into the structure at night

aerial shot of the ‘space lab’ showing the roofing and surrounding context

detail of the cedar planks


the temporary shelter in fall and spring


space lab by kohki hiranuma architect & associates

site plan 1: 500

plan and roof plan 1:100

elevation drawings 1:150

sections 1:150

floor, roof, and wall details 1:50






project info:


project name: space lab, the university of tokyo
project location: meguro tokyo, japan
completion date: nov. 2008
design company: kohki hiranuma architect & associates co.,ltd.
designer: kohki hiranuma
area-square metre: 47.39 m
client: the university of tokyo
photographer: shigeta satoshi / nacasa & partners inc.