Tree-inspired café in Japan balances on a trunk of Jenga-like blocks
Esteemed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has conceived of some highly innovative structures that make heavy use of natural materials to blend in with their surroundings. His latest work stays true to this ethos, relying a single, "randomly" stacked column of boards to support a tree-like café overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Kuma specializes in blending traditional Japanese architecture with modern construction technologies, and he's produced some truly striking creations in the process. These include a glowing cold climate house dressed in a double skin membrane to promote convection, a latticed research center inspired by the traditional Japanese wooden toy Cidori, and an art museum based on interlocking stacked wooden boxes (this one is still in the works).
Sitting atop an oceanside cliff-top in Japan's Shizuoka prefecture, the recently completed Coeda House is an equally eye-catching edifice. The café takes its design cues from a tree, and uses a stack of cedar blocks measuring 8 cm (3.14 in) high and 8 cm wide as a "trunk" to form the central supporting column that the firm says has been arranged randomly.
Inside this trunk is a carbon fiber rod with a tensile strength seven times that of iron. This makes it possible to support the entire roof (canopy?) that spreads out over the 142-sq meter (1,528-sq ft) space from the central column, meaning there isn't much around the outside to block the magnificent view.
Source: Kengo Kuma & Associates