Location: Tomioka City, Japan.

Architect: Tezuka Architects.

The Chamber of Commerce in Tomioka purchased the traditional Yoshino Gofuku-ten kimono store to relocate it and rejuvenate the historical landscape. The store had undergone haphazard renovations and was in a state of disrepair, with the main house collapsing and only the street facade remaining. The storehouse was reinforced and restored, with the roof capped with traditional plaster-works. The President of the Chamber of Commerce requested that the building represent Tomioka as a city of the future, with a form that defines the structural system.

The building is composed of repeating roof ridges, with diagonal members used for in-plane rigidity and angle and knee braces compensating for structural stress. The building is a genuine timber building, made possible by the age-old skills of craftsmen. The diagonal grid pattern appears repeatedly from the structure to the awning screen, resembling the lattice used in silkworm farming and the Namako wall design. A path cuts through the site, providing a sheltered public space for events and connecting Tomioka Silk Mill and the City Hall. The Main Hall has outstanding accessibility from the street and versatility for the public, with no fixed seating or acoustic devices. The building is a new heart for the local community and is hoped to become a heritage of Tomioka alongside the Silk Mill.

Photo credit: Katsuhisa Kida/FOTOTECA.