2013 – SunnyHills – Kengo Kuma

The architect used a traditional Japanese joint system in wood structure construction called “Jigoku Gumi” to create soft warm human space that feels like a forest or cloud. The adoption of a 3D structure system enabled the cross section of one member to be reduced to as thin as 60mm x 60mm.

The shop, specialized in selling pineapple cake (popular sweet in Taiwan), is in the shape of a bamboo basket. This same type of wood structure that are as thin as branches which were used to build this space are used to taste the pineapple cake made from carefully selected ingredients.

As the building is located in middle of the residential area in Aoyama, the architect wanted to give some soft and subtle atmosphere to it, which is completely different from a concrete box, expecting that the street and the architecturecould be in good chemistry.

Name: SunnyHills│Type: Commercial│Architect: Kengo Kuma│Completed: 2013


2012 – Asakusa Culture and Tourism Center – Kengo Kuma

In the corner premise of just 326㎡ across Kaminari-mon Gate, the building was required to accommodate plural programs such as tourist information center, conference room, multi-purpose hall and an exhibition space. The center extends Asakusa’s lively neighborhood vertically and piles up roofs that wrap different activities underneath, creating a “new section” which had not existed in conventional layered architecture. Equipments are stored in the diagonally shaped spaces born between the roof and the floor, and by this treatment we could secure large air volume despite its just average height for high-and medium-rise buildings. Furthermore, the roofs not only divide the structure into 8 one-storied houses but also determine the role of each floor.

First and second floor has an atrium and in-door stairs, creating a sequence from which you can feel the slope of the two roofs. On 6th floor, taking advantage of the slanted roof, we were able to set up a terraced floor with which the entire room can function as a theater. As angles of the roofs inclined toward Kaminari-mon and the heights from the ground vary from floor to floor, each floor relates differently to the outside, giving a unique character to each space.

Name: Asakusa Culture and Tourism Center│Type: Entertainment / Office│Architect: Kengo Kuma│Completed: 2012


2009 – Nezu Museum – Kengo Kuma

It is an attempt to design a museum as an urban design, rather than a single building. The avenue of Omotesando, where high-end brand shops and boutiques are jostling one another, begins with the wood of Meiji Jingu Shrine, and concludes in the south end with Nezu museum abundant in green. In the vast site exceeding 20,000㎡ was the private residence of Nezu family. The museum has an excellent collection of Japanese and oriental antiques, and with its verdurous Japanese garden and tea rooms, the museum has gained great popularity since its opening in 1914. On the occasion of the renewal, architects thought of designing a dumbbell-shaped town which embraces two forests at both ends. The old and decrepit storehouse and exhibition house were replaced by new buildings, while the ‘new’ building added in 1990 was half-renovated as house for storage and management.

Kengo Kuma and associates wanted the new museum to be linked naturally with its surroundings by the shade from the gentle slope of the roof, located between the busy commercial area and the wood. Layered tiled roof with lowered eaves inherit the original image of the museum and harmonize the new building and the garden. They intended to merge the edge of such linear element to the wood. The end of the rood is a steel plate treated in phosphoric acid to be thinned to its maximum, so that the tile would match the refined works of art in the museum, erasing theme park-like sense of unreality that the tiles tend to have. Phosphoric acid-treatment is also applied to the steel plate panel in the exterior wall, as the material can assimilate to the shade.

The building is not fenced in from the city. Rather, it is open to it through the bamboo thicket, an attempt for a museum as an urban design. People go along the bamboo under the deep eave, like a passage from the lively town to the forest of beauty. Just like ‘Roji’ approach for tea room, visitors need to make turns to change their mood and end the flow from Meiji Shrine and Omotesando (literally means a main approach to shrine and temples).

Inside the museum is softly wrapped in coral gray from Qingdao, a stone which has a similar expression to the bamboo, and integrated into the garden under the big shade of the roof. Interior is structured also with layered thin roofs of bamboo ‘neritsuke’ (thinly shaved bamboo is stuck to plywood) and people savor the beauty of all. In the garden the café was renewed as well, while preserving its stone wall and fire place from the old Nezu residence, another spot for the visitors to enjoy the nature of the garden. Thus, this museum is a device that reunites the city and the forest.

Name: Nezu Museum│Type: Museum│Architect: Kengo Kuma│Completed: 2009



2004 – Food and Agriculture Museum – Kengo Kuma

This university museum is designed for a new age and is open to local residents. The display space, experimental space and café are organically integrated, fostering natural interaction between people that live in the area and the researchers. The row of Zelkova trees in Baji Equestrian Park in front of the site and museum are joined together by means of vertical louvers made from Ashino stone. Selection of the material was based on the theme of aging. A natural material that beautifully changes color over time (Ashino stone has high absorptivity and a soft texture) was used with the objective of creating “biological architecture” befitting the Tokyo University of Agriculture.

Name: Food and Agriculture Museum│Type: Museum│Architect: Kengo Kuma│Completed: 2004


1991 – M2 Building – Kengo Kuma

M2, which stands beside Ring Road Number 8, was built as an automobile showroom for Mazda. It is a jumble of dentils, corbels, triglyphs and arches at different scales and a glass curtain wall topped by panels normaly used to contain traffic noise. Despite the illusion of masonry construction, the structure is reinforced concrete. Standing smack in the middle of this pile is an enormous column with an abbreviated shaft. Inside, the iconic column is discovered to be an atrium with glazed elevator shaft.

“I want to be a Piranesi for the electronic age” was a comment made by the architect at the time. The curtain wall and the highway barriers represent functionalism and modernism, and the classical motifs post-modernism. Combining this free-floating collage was intended to express the emergence of a new post-industrial relationship between the workplace and the home.

Name: M2 Building │Type: Commercial│Architect: Kengo Kuma│Completed: 1991