Architects: Kengo Kuma & Associates, Tokyo
Location: Minami Aoyama 3-10-20, Tokyo, Japan
The new shop operated by Sunny Hills, a Taiwanese bakery that specialises in pineapple cake, is located in the heart of a residential district just a few blocks away from downtown Tokyo. In coming up with the design, architect Kengo Kuma deliberately discarded the idea of an austere-looking concrete skin in favour of warmth-emanating wood. In this he made use of Japanese or hinoki cypress, a widespread species in the country and a popular traditional building material in Japan.
As in the case of sculptures by the artist Tadashi Kawamata, the outer skin of the Sunny Hills shop is formed out of interlocking wooden sticks. This system is based on Jiigoku Gumi, a customary method in Japanese wood architecture in which two superimposed layers are tightly fixed together by a third layer.
The narrow slats, which are a mere 60 mm thick, are arranged at 30° and 60° angles rather than at the more conventional angle of 90°. They thus form hundreds of diamond-shaped recesses in the ceiling and walls, which were assembled by local Japanese craftsmen.
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