Isolated within a seemingly endless stretch of flat, idyllic countryside, a small but dense forest emerges into view. Occupying 4500 square metres, the ancient copse has been preserved and nurtured in its rural setting. Nestled within this unique environment the project acts as small museum. It consists of a market selling locally farmed produce and goods, a restaurant serving dishes using only locally grown ingredients (based on the Chisan-Chisho concept of local production for local consumption), and an event space hosting exhibitions and concerts for the community.
Gently sloping terrain and naturally dispersed trees, dappled sunlight and rustling leaves provide visitors with a comforting and dreamlike backdrop. The building is orientated to appear as if it is submerged in the forest, in order to help visitors detach from their everyday lives and experience the forest from the inside. Visitors can enjoy the sight of the roots emerging beneath their feet and leaves flourishing overhead. We considered the architectural program as Chisho, the act of consuming local produce, and have therefore designed the architecture as a platform to remind visitors of its origin, Chisan.
The site is located in an area which is subject to heavy snowfall in winter. In response, the vernacular downtown shopping streets are covered with elongated roofs, called Gangi-Zukuri, which disperse the heavy snow. The formal concept therefore derives from the notion of a extended roof unifying several shops in a street. The same roof links the respective spaces: the market, kitchen and event space. The Gangi roof can expand to accommodate elements which may be added in the future, creating harmony between old and new. The project will retain a sense of ordered chaos; the architecture will grow organically as it is passed on to future generations.
Architects: Studio Takuya Hosokai
Winner – Category: Public Building
Project Location: Niigata
Project Team Members: Takuya Hosokai, James Hull, Satoshi Hasebe