Mokuzai Kaikan (MK) relocated the offices of the Association of Wood Wholesalers and was designed as an innovative prototype for urban wooden offices based upon earlier traditional structures such as temples and shrines, which aimed to revive this culture in Japanese architecture. Traditionally, the (wooden) structure is made only by timber without steel, concrete, or wet connections (e.g. glue) and is based on a single module – to ease changing layouts and componentry. In MK the use of some structural steel parts could not be avoided, but they are removable, being fastened through dry connections. State-of-the-art computer modelling and manufacturing technology (CDC, numerically controlled cutting) was needed to develop the low tolerances for such a precise solution for both structure and façade.
MK utilizes a ‘universal space’ which they signify through a column-free work space. The designers of MK activated the external periphery of the office space to create a strip of more casual and semi-open air spaces connecting the office space to the outside environment. In addition, the use of Engawa, Japanese terraces, helps provide a comfortable indoor environment by allowing cool breezes to enter while shutting out direct sunlight.
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