- Design Participation: Makoto Nakayama, Mayuko Fujita
- Model: Mayuko Fujita
- 3 D Rendering: NIKKEN SEKKEI
- Structure Engineer: Katsuhiko Yamawagi, Takashi Kotani, Nikken Sekkei
- Building: Futaba Kensetsu Co.Ltd.
- Plumbing/Ventilation/Floor Heating: Nakayama Jyutaku Setsubi Co.Ltd.
- Steel Structure: OATEC Corporation
- Structure: Steel Structure
- City: Chūō-ku
- Country: Japan
Text description provided by the architects. This is a project that I tried to create an architecture using traditional Japanese bamboo strip like thin material. This three story steel structure was designed with “slim,” “thin,” and “small” in mind. I thought of the ways to place the vast amount of books and documents we have into the architecture, to make bookshelves and books as a part of the interior design as well as the architecture, and to create openings freely without restrictions. I examined the possibility of creating a delicate and elegant bare metal structure.
The feature of this design is the use of 50mm x 500mm x 1000mm cork blocks. Not only these blocks are lightweight, sound absolving, and heat insulating but also they are recycled from used wine cork. The sustainable and fast growing cork oak is promising material. Also, it does not catch fire even when torched. With its exterior walls in natural color of the cork and when covered with moss and plant I expect it will become a nature-clad structure.
HIGO is constructed with steel parts made as slim as possible. With hardly any partitioning walls one can see outside through scattered openings. Sitting down in the corner of the office, sunlight comes through the gaps in bookshelves surrounding the building, looking up through the floor glass the scene in front of you is just likes the one you experienced in the forest.
The main structure is constructed with 60mm x 60mm, 50mm x 50mm, and 38mm x 38mm steel beams, 60mm x 128mm I-beams, 28mm x 125mm flat bars, 40mm x 75mm channel steel, 4.5mm steel plates, and 1.2mm keystone plates.
The bookshelves assembled by 38mm x 38mm steel beams, 4.5mm steel plates, and 40mm x 75mm channel steel surround all four sides of the structure, and bear seismic force and wind pressure. The 60mm x 60mm columns in the middle support only the vertical load. The 4.5mm steel back plates replace braces. The locations of openings that can be placed freely, even in corners, are determined by their uses, views, and controlling light intake.The 50 mm thick cork blocks weigh only 7.5 ㎏/㎡, and are used for the exterior and floor substrate. On top of Japan being earthquake prone, the local building code requires 300㎏/㎡ snow load. So, this structure would not have been possible without the lightness of cork blocks.