LocationMino, Gifu Prefecture, Japan
CollaboratorsGifu Academy of Forest Science and Culture, Furukawa Forest, Mino nursery school and Kameno-cho Brothers
Text description provided by the architects. In late 2012 construction of a timber building for the Mino Nursery School in Mino, Gifu, Japan was completed by a mixed group. The group consisted of a Mokuiku model project team, Atelier Zo, the Gifu Academy of Forest Science and Culture, and the Mino nursery school community,
Mokuiku means education in timber, leading to an understanding of trees and forests and of the cultural means of their utilization. As Japan is a highly forested country, timber represents a resource, as well as the environment, and is deeply embedded in local culture and traditional techniques. Mokuiku architecture reflects a society oriented to recycling and is a means of environmental education through the construction of timber buildings via multidisciplinary research in the areas between architecture, environmental education and forestry science.
This project started by identifying Mokuiku design detailsin each discipline.The following are the key factors that were used for their identification.
- low-carbon lifestyle
- Human resources for Satoyama area
- forestry science and culture
- biomass resources
- forestry health and conservation
- community planning
- local wood & timber materials; manufactured materials
- recycled materials
- local construction techniques
- wood barking & seasoning techniques
- architectural perimeter-less design method
- hybrid service systems
These ethnographical, historical, technical and scientific references were the basis of the facility design.With this information the Mino Nursery School project was intended as an innovative design using an approach we called ‘local production for local consumption’, for a culturally and environmentally sustainable community.
Mino nursery school is located in Mino city, which lies along the Great Nagara River and is surrounded by chain of mountains. The school is also a part of the Zenno-ji, which is the oldest Zen temple in the area. The main design idea was to be in balance with these cultural and historical references. Low and deep eaves express the traditional ambience and contribute to the townscape.
The main frames were made out of nearly 200 year-old native cypress with natural seasoning treatment. Five native cypress columns with internal branches express unique spaces within the frames and externally resonate with the surrounding mountains in this area. The site is a naturally formed slope from east to west. This was taken advantage of for providing direct access to both the basement and the ground floor levels.. Because of this an exposed timber design of columns and beams was possible without contravening the building code.. The playroom is covered with cypress boards and the nursery rooms are full of local materials, such as pine and broad-leaved tree boards, local shrubs and bamboo crafts and traditional Mino-hon paper with persimmon lacquer.
Moreover, this facility operates with natural solar, geothermal and biomass energy. Mokuiku architecture as demonstrated represents a specific locality, its environment and its culture with 21st C knowledge, technology and technics.
68.2% of the land forest covered. FAO 2005