Type:Shops/Location:Kamakura,Kanagawa,Japan/Design:2017-18/Construction:2018/Consultant:Low Fat Structure/Structure:Timber/Contractor:Koizumi-Mokuzai/Site area:214m2/Built area:52m2x2/Total floor area:90m2x2


SASAMEZA is composed of two-story twin commercial buildings which accommodate eight shops at the commercial block located in Kamakura, Japan. The site faces Yuigahama-street. It is a bus street and the buses run between the central Kamakura and the Giant Buddha in Hase. Some of the shops along the street still retain the original feature of double-roof façade which has determined the scale of the town, and hence carry the nostalgic atmosphere of the Kamakura villa culture to date from 100 years ago. We wanted to respect it and for that we planned to set up the double-roof with the inside of the façade of the buildings.

At the time of planning, the client was thinking about dividing the site into two pieces and selling them one by one at the time of building completion, so we have presented an idea with two twin-like buildings arranged in such a way that it would enable them to divide the land without disturbing the court yard. The total floor area of each of the buildings is about 90m2, but they have slightly different planar shape according to the shape of the site. Since we wanted to present the two blocks as a whole, we took the rain gutter system under the roof on the side facing each of the buildings. In addition, we have set the windows and doors across the passage and the courtyard at the identical positions along the same lines giving the buildings the mirror image of each other.

We have decided to show the structural features such as offset columns and double beams (nageshi) visible in the interior space though they are normally covered and hidden by the ceiling boards and walls. We believed it would present a unity throughout the twin buildings even when shops of different characters occupy the spaces. Also, we have made it possible for them to exchange the wooden parts such of the outside staircase, double -roof structure, and outside wood deck by using such fastening methods and bracket.

These are commercial buildings and many people will come and visit. We wanted to let the people know about the importance of the ‘local production for local consumption’, ‘the energy needed for transport’ and hence ‘the maintenance of the forest’. Though such things are normally not applied for commercial buildings of smaller scale we dared to adopt them hoping that would increase the people’s awareness about the issues. For that we even went into the forest in Hakone mountains, Kanagawa with our client, a forester and a builder, and we selected and harvested the trees there for the columns and beams to be used. We are also currently planning to have some events about the timber consumption at the site.