All
Projects
Products
Events
Competitions
  1. ArchDaily
  2. Articles
  3. 21 Projects Where Kengo Kuma (Re)Uses Materials in Unusual Ways

21 Projects Where Kengo Kuma (Re)Uses Materials in Unusual Ways

21 Projects Where Kengo Kuma (Re)Uses Materials in Unusual Ways
21 Projects Where Kengo Kuma (Re)Uses Materials in Unusual Ways, Mont-Blanc Base Camp / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates
Mont-Blanc Base Camp / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates

Kengo Kuma uses materials to connect with the local context and the users of his projects. The textures and elementary forms of constructive systems, materials, and products, are exhibited and used in favor of the architectural concept, giving value to the functions that will be carried out in each building.

From showcases made with ceramic tiles to the sifted light created by expanded metal panels, passing through an ethereal polyester coating, Kuma understands the material as an essential component that can make a difference in architecture from the design stages. Next, we present 21 projects where Kengo Kuma masterfully uses construction materials.

V&A Dundee / Kengo Kuma and Associates. Image © Hufton+Crow Camper Paseo de Gracia / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © ImagenSubliminal GC Prostho Museum Research Center / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Daici Ano Archives Antoni Clavé / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © 11h45 + 44

Precast Concrete as a Brutal Façade

V&A Dundee

Located along the waterfront in the city of Dundee, Scotland, this museum appears as a petrified ship. Kuma has created a façade composed of multiple horizontal layers of precast concrete, delivering an interesting play of light and shadow from a distance, and a delicate texture when approaching.

V&A Dundee / Kengo Kuma and Associates. Image © Hufton+Crow
V&A Dundee / Kengo Kuma and Associates. Image © Hufton+Crow
V&A Dundee / Kengo Kuma and Associates. Image © Hufton+Crow
V&A Dundee / Kengo Kuma and Associates. Image © Hufton+Crow

Ceramic Roof Tiles as Shelves

Camper Paseo de Gracia

In this shoe store, the architect takes advantage of the elementary form of the ceramic pieces to create all the elements that the space needs to work: walls, shelves, the staff counter, and the customers' bench. Each piece is simple, but its sum is complex and attractive.

Camper Paseo de Gracia / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © ImagenSubliminal
Camper Paseo de Gracia / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © ImagenSubliminal
Camper Paseo de Gracia / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © ImagenSubliminal
Camper Paseo de Gracia / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © ImagenSubliminal

Fabric as Light Ceilings and Walls

One @ Tokyo

Contrasting with a dramatic wooden screen on its facade, also used unexpectedly, the restaurant located on the first floor of the hotel is configured spatially through the use of the fabric. Long white veils are spread over the space, defining light walls and hiding the technical installations on the roof.

One @ Tokyo / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Keishin Horikoshi / SS Tokyo
One @ Tokyo / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Keishin Horikoshi / SS Tokyo
One @ Tokyo / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Keishin Horikoshi / SS Tokyo
One @ Tokyo / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Keishin Horikoshi / SS Tokyo

Wooden Grid as Showcase

GC Prostho Museum Research Center

In this museum, the architect replicates the system of Cidori, an old Japanese toy, at the necessary scale to become the support for the works of art that will be exhibited inside. The resulting structure consists of a grid of 50cm square.

GC Prostho Museum Research Center / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Daici Ano
GC Prostho Museum Research Center / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Daici Ano
GC Prostho Museum Research Center / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Daici Ano
GC Prostho Museum Research Center / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Daici Ano

Recycled Materials as a Translucent Facade

Même – Experimental House

The house is inspired by the "Chise," the traditional housing of the Ainu. It is a wooden frame made of Japanese larch with a membrane material of polyester fluorocarbon coating. The inner part is covered with removable glass-fiber-cloth membrane. Between the two membranes, a polyester insulator recycled from PET bottles is inserted that penetrates the light.

Même – Experimental House / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates
Même – Experimental House / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates
Même – Experimental House / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates
Même – Experimental House / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates

Glass Panels as an Animated Lattice 

Contemporary Art Center – FRAC

Several tempered and laminated glass panels, with an enameled surface treatment, create an exo-structure that envelops the museum, creating movement and identity to the building.

Contemporary Art Center – FRAC / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Nicolas Waltefaugle
Contemporary Art Center – FRAC / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Nicolas Waltefaugle
Contemporary Art Center – FRAC / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Nicolas Waltefaugle
Contemporary Art Center – FRAC / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Nicolas Waltefaugle

Wooden Boards as a Playground

Towada Community Plaza

Wooden boards have been cut, glued, and treated to build a beautiful and smooth topography for the community center playroom and nursery. Also, the ceiling in wooden planks with varied spacings folds and becomes the façade to merge into the neighboring townscape of small houses.

Towada Community Plaza / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Kenta Hasegawa
Towada Community Plaza / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Kenta Hasegawa
Towada Community Plaza / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Kenta Hasegawa
Towada Community Plaza / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Kenta Hasegawa

Zinc and Laminated Veneer Lumber as Brise Soleil

Macdonald Public Facility Complex

In this project in Paris, Kuma has designed a succession of vertical elements that define the rhythm of its façade towards the interior patio. This solar control system is composed of Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) panels coated in zinc, and supported by a steel structure.

Macdonald Public Facility Complex / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Guillaume Satre
Macdonald Public Facility Complex / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Guillaume Satre
Macdonald Public Facility Complex / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Guillaume Satre
Macdonald Public Facility Complex / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Guillaume Satre

Milled Wood as a Lattice Ceiling

Wood/Pile

According to Kuma, "we selected fir trees grown near the site and milled them to a width of 30mm, piling them up like twigs, in order to produce a transitional scale between the large forest and small architecture. This is also a medium through which humans can be integrated into the forest. The little twigs disperse the light filtering through the skylight, repeating the effect of komorebi or ‘rays of light’ often experienced in the forest."

© Erieta Attali
© Erieta Attali
© Erieta Attali
© Erieta Attali

Ceramic Tiles as a Wall Screen

China Academy of Arts’ Folk Art Museum

In this case, the outer wall is covered with a screen of tiles hung up by stainless wires, controlling the volume of sunlight coming into the rooms inside. Old tiles for both the screen and the roof came from local houses. Their sizes are all different, and that helps the architecture merge into the ground naturally.  

China Academy of Arts’ Folk Art Museum / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Eiichi Kano
China Academy of Arts’ Folk Art Museum / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Eiichi Kano
China Academy of Arts’ Folk Art Museum / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Eiichi Kano
China Academy of Arts’ Folk Art Museum / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Eiichi Kano

Raw Oak Wooden Boards as Cladding

Mont-Blanc Base Camp

"Wooden boards of natural oak envelop the building creating an irregular rhythm both in the façade and in the roof. The intention was to keep the natural and rough aspect of the oak, so we decided to keep the bark as well as to not add any treatments to highlight the natural aspect of the wood," says Kuma about the design.

Mont-Blanc Base Camp / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Michel Denancé
Mont-Blanc Base Camp / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Michel Denancé
Mont-Blanc Base Camp / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © CAUE / Béatrice Cafieri
Mont-Blanc Base Camp / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © CAUE / Béatrice Cafieri

Expanded Metal Panels with Paper Pulp as a Light Filter

Archives Antoni Clavé

By blending expanded metal panels and Japanese paper pulp, the white screens give the space a soft, natural-lit atmosphere. During the process, the mesh sheet is soaked in a starchy liquid made from kozo (mulberry) and sunset hibiscus. Various levels of transparency were achieved by controlling and adjusting the thickness of the solution and its way of drying.

Archives Antoni Clavé / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © 11h45
Archives Antoni Clavé / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © 11h45
Archives Antoni Clavé / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © 11h45
Archives Antoni Clavé / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © 11h45

Wooden Beams as a Louver

Hekikai Shinkin Bank Misono

A series of wooden beams are subtly connected through their smaller edges to visually "extend" and generate louvers, applied on the glazed façade. "Wooden louvers not only create a gentle rhythm to the streets, but also take in forestry sunbeam inside the building."

Hekikai Shinkin Bank Misono / Kengo Kuma and Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates
Hekikai Shinkin Bank Misono / Kengo Kuma and Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates
Hekikai Shinkin Bank Misono / Kengo Kuma and Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates
Hekikai Shinkin Bank Misono / Kengo Kuma and Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates

Aluminum Tiles as a 5th Façade

Jodo Shu Ichigyo-in Temple

Jodo Shu Ichigyo-in Temple is much seen from above. As such, the roof becomes an important part of façade. In it extruded half-cylinder aluminum ‘tiles’ create a unique texture for the building.

Jodo Shu Ichigyo-in Temple / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Professional Photo MIYAGAWA
Jodo Shu Ichigyo-in Temple / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Professional Photo MIYAGAWA
Jodo Shu Ichigyo-in Temple / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Professional Photo MIYAGAWA
Jodo Shu Ichigyo-in Temple / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Professional Photo MIYAGAWA

Stone and Steel as a Building Envelope

Kanayama Community Center

In this project, Kuma reinterprets the local stone wall through a steel structure containing stones of regular sections and a homogeneous texture. This system surrounds the entire building and works to help control solar radiation on its most exposed facades.

Kanayama Community Center / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Takeshi Yamagishi
Kanayama Community Center / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Takeshi Yamagishi
Kanayama Community Center / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Takeshi Yamagishi
Kanayama Community Center / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Takeshi Yamagishi

Steel Mesh as Green Eaves

Marronier Court

Looking to lighten and abstract the eaves of the building, the architect has designed a corrugated stainless steel mesh of 5 mm, anchored to allow the growth of vegetation on it.

Marronier Court / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Daici Ano
Marronier Court / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Daici Ano
Marronier Court / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Daici Ano
Marronier Court / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Daici Ano

Fabric as an Organic Wallcovering

Shang XIA

In this interior project, triaxially folded, thermally treated fabric was used. By maintaining the softness of the fabric and strength of shape-memory texture, the material allows to generate an organic and ethereal environment.

Shang XIA / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates
Shang XIA / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates
Shang XIA / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates
Shang XIA / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates

Straw on a Curtain Wall

Yusuhara Marche

Kuma seeks again to connect with local history by using straw as a material, making modules of 2000x980mm. "Normally in thatched roofing, thatch is fixed vertically against the foundation, in which its cut ends face towards outside." In this building, however, the bunch of thatch is bound horizontally to the foundation, with which the cut end will not be exposed to rainfall and will last long," says the project description.

Yusuhara Marche / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Takumi Ota Photography
Yusuhara Marche / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Takumi Ota Photography
Yusuhara Marche / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Takumi Ota Photography
Yusuhara Marche / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image © Takumi Ota Photography

Tiles as a 'Façade of Particles'

Xinjin Zhi Museum

Local tiles have been hung by wires to make them float in the air, creating a "facade of particles." This system reduces the natural weight of the material, seeking to merge the building with the nature that surrounds it, and allows controlled passage of sunlight.

Xinjin Zhi Museum / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates
Xinjin Zhi Museum / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates
Xinjin Zhi Museum / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates
Xinjin Zhi Museum / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates

Aluminum Panels as Vertical Planters

Green Cast

As the architects comment, this building includes "a living façade made of aluminum die-cast panels that act as vertical planters. The slightly slanted panels are made of monoblock casting and give an organic appearance, as the cast comes from decayed styrene foam."

Green Cast / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates
Green Cast / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates
Green Cast / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates
Green Cast / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates

Aluminum Grating Panels as a Mosaic Façade

Delis Yokohama

According to the architect, "with 850 panels of aluminum grating that have different sizes and patterns and are combined as mosaic, we tried to translate the humane and unsorted atmosphere of this vibrant district alongside the canal into architectural vocabulary. Normally, multipurpose buildings in big cities are treated unfavorably. However, with the application of the industrial material as the particle, we succeeded in giving a fresh expression of 'noise' to the building."

Delis Yokohama / Kengo Kuma and Associates. Image © Toshihiro Ishibashi
Delis Yokohama / Kengo Kuma and Associates. Image © Toshihiro Ishibashi
Delis Yokohama / Kengo Kuma and Associates. Image © Toshihiro Ishibashi
Delis Yokohama / Kengo Kuma and Associates. Image © Toshihiro Ishibashi
About this author
Cite: AD Editorial Team. "21 Projects Where Kengo Kuma (Re)Uses Materials in Unusual Ways" 30 May 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/917657/21-projects-in-which-kengo-kuma-re-uses-materials-in-unusual-ways/> ISSN 0719-8884
Read comments
Mont-Blanc Base Camp / Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image Courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates

超常规材料使用法:隈研吾与他的21个项目

You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.