VUILD completed a digitally fabricated house, the first attempt for the future that allows anyone to build it anywhere.
An architecture startup VUILD, Inc. led by Koki Akiyoshi has completed “House for Marebito” in Nanto City, Toyama Prefecture in October 2019. This project challenges the local issues of forestry and marginal settlement by only using local lumbers and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling machine called “ShopBot.” The introduction of ShopBot enables the local community to produce and fabricate wood by themselves.
Toga Village in Nanto City, Toyama Prefecture, where the house is located, has rich wood resources that mountains and forests cover 97% of the land and the elevation of the guesthouse is over 1,000 meters. On the other hand, the population is only about 600, and Toga village is stated as “marginal village.” A marginal village is a village with over half the residents over the age of 65 that is in danger of disappearing. By building a guesthouse in such location, this project proposes a new concept of second home “more than tourism, but not migration” that people go back and forth the land as they visit their relatives.
For construction, VUILD proposed a new local networking system which completes all the construction process, from material procurement to installation, within a 10-kilometer radius in order to make use of local forest resources, and approach the decline of forestry. The first step was to introduce a low cost but high-performance digital fabrication machine “ShopBot” to the local lumber mill called Nagata Corporation, and the second was to slice the logs and turn into wooden boards, which is a standard that can be processed with ShopBot. Thus, they have succeeded in completing an architecture by using local wood which normally cannot meet the standard of distribution.
For design, VUILD proposed a construction method using digital fabrication which duplicates local traditional architectural methods called “Gassho Zukuri” and “Wakunouchi” developed to withstand heavy snowfalls. These traditional methods have been in decline due to the exodus of the population to urban areas and the decline of the local economy, and VUILD’s challenge was to realize the traditional techniques by ShopBot. In addition, They also dwelled on the directions of the house. The gable surfaces were placed to north and south to imitate Gassho Zukuri, and they made mountains run in parallel to the guesthouse look like U-shaped gutter as it is the path of the wind, thus arranged “wind-catcher” to the east side facades in order to secure the daylight, ventilation, and warmth at the same time.
In the process of deciding the method, the concept of “An architecture which is an extension of the furniture which can be made by amateur” was also very important. By processing all the parts small, they succeeded in involving residents who had never been able to participate in architecture such as kids, women, and elder people. In addition, small parts are excellent in transportation and can be constructed without scaffold at the sloping land and narrow space. Although over 1,000 pieces and 1,000 joints were needed at the end of the day, since all the pieces were processed by the digital fabrication machine, there were no misaligns. VUILD has succeeded in challenging the social issues of the decline of forestry and marginal settlement by using ShopBot.