yuji tanabe architects has renovated a commercial building that once served as a restaurant into ‘WORK x ation site KARUIZAWA’ — a flexible working office space in karuizawa, japan. the project includes the renovation of the V-form building, whose two wings meet at the vertex point facing the roppon-tsuji roundabout, and the addition of a new folly amidst the rich greenery of the site. the folly acts as a space for relaxation, consisting of six surfaces of varied angles applied for the roof, eaves, and walls.

yuji tanabe completes 'work x ation' offices with multifaceted folly in karuizawa, japan
all images courtesy of yuji tanabe architects



yuji tanabe architects has renovated the V-form building, which comes with two extending wings, one single story and the other double. on the ground level, each wing accommodates an office space of 50-60 sqm, placed sandwiching the entrance hall in between together with the café and wet areas.the original plan placed the service area to the roundabout side and hence the façade was designed to be completely closed. the japanese architect decided to place the main reception area on the façade zone, providing the entrance hall with plenty natural light and breeze. in addition, a café terrace was placed around the entrance, which also enhances the attractiveness of the façade.

yuji tanabe has placed the folly on the side of the street



as part of the renovation, more windows have been added, while some existing ones were enlarged in order to further blend the interior with the greenery outside. nageshi beams, which are beams running between columns in traditional japanese rooms, have been used to install cable racks. this enabled the architects to install wires for the additional lights and projectors without removing the walls.

path towards the 'work x ation' offices



the exterior is covered in cedar timber painted in grey, which helps blend the building with the surrounding trees. in terms of landscape, yuji tanabe has reorganized the lines of flow without changing the location of the entrance and parking space. additional white birch trees have been planted, together with other plants, creating a green oasis around the building.

yuji tanabe completes flexible office spaces with a multifaceted folly in karuizawa, japan



visible from the street, the folly, which consists of six surfaces of varied angles, has been designed as a space for relaxation. the size and angles of its surfaces was developed according to the human scale of the activities that will take place, as well as the angles of sunlight and air flow. furthermore, the pitch width of plates was determined according to the simulation of rain water flow, which resulted in gradation from the top to the bottom.

the folly viewed from the street



the first level of the two-story folly allows people to sit leaning against the inclined wall, similar to sitting on a large bench. the upper level allows people to sit more freely, like sitting on an engawa, an edging strip of floor surrounding the inner part of a house in traditional japanese architecture. 

front view of the timber folly



‘the new owner/management company assumes letting these office spaces to corporate business purposes for a mid to long term period as well as to the individual business needs,’ says yuji tanabe. ‘we aimed to create spaces where clients would feel comfortable working there and at the same time a facility which would be able to respond to the ever changing business demands.’

yuji tanabe completes flexible office spaces with a multifaceted folly in karuizawa, japan  the interior is connected to the nature outside interior view of  'work x ation' offices yuji tanabe completes flexible office spaces with a multifaceted folly in karuizawa, japan plan yuji tanabe completes flexible office spaces with a multifaceted folly in karuizawa, japan



project info:


name: WORK x ation site KARUIZAWA
architect: yuji tanabe architects
location: karuizawa, nagano, japan
consultant: low fat structure, shelter, comodo
contractor: takehana gumi
management/client: mitsubishi estate
site area: 1027 square meters
total floor area: 276 square meters (building), 12 square meters (folly)