Photos courtesy of Shigeo Ogawa
The project consists of two buildings, an archery hall and a boxing club, standing a few hundred meters apart on the grounds of Kogakuin University in west Tokyo.
The University’s brief was for low-cost structures made of locally sourced timber to provide accessible and inspiring spaces for the students. By chance, both facilities called for a column-free space of 7.2m by 10.8m, a size that is comparable to a sacred hall in a traditional Japanese temple. In order to achieve this span, without columns and using low-cost methods of timber construction, it was necessary to come up with an innovative timber solution. We began the project by investigating a number of structural forms that would be appropriate for each sport.
Small timber sections, normally reserved for furniture making, were chosen for the archery hall, and timber members deemed defected because of insect damage, for the boxing club.
We have salvaged the purity of traditional Japanese timber composition, simply made up of horizontals and verticals, which has been somewhat disregarded ever since the advent of modernism in Japan.
The two structures have been constructed employing a simple, lo-tech method of bolt-and-nut assembly. However, due to the scale of the space and simplicity of construction, the execution had to be meticulous, in order to produce spaces that are out of the ordinary.