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tono Inc. completes Sumu Yakushima Regenerative Residence in Japan
Japan Architecture News - Jul 24, 2023 - 16:11 2260 views
Japanese architecture firm tono Inc. has completed the Sumu Yakushima Regenerative Residence in Yakushima Island, a natural paradise in southern Japan, where abundant rainfall onto 2,000-meter peaks nurtures dense forests home to millennium-old Japanese cedars.
This innovative housing co-op applies "regenerative architecture" to re-conceptualize the relationship between human habitation and the surrounding natural environment.
Living deck and existing symbol tree. Image © Rui Nishi
The name Sumu means both "to live" and "to become clear", expressing its core concept of living in a way that positively impacts the landscape. Rather than being a discrete site, the design takes a holistic view of the entire river basin, from the mountains to the sea, making a positive contribution to natural processes.
It applies "regenerative architecture", a new approach developed by the designers that combines traditional Japanese civil engineering with contemporary technology.
Living deck. Image © Hinano Kimoto
Going beyond simply preserving nature as it is today, key considerations in the design include designing the underground environment, orientating buildings based on in-depth understanding of water and air flows through the landscape and creating an ongoing connection with nature through architecture.
In addition to exploring modern applications of traditional Japanese wisdom, its features include an off-grid energy from solar power, storage batteries, and local firewood, comfortable living spaces that leverage architectural expertise to achieve effective airtightness and insulation unlike camp-style accommodations and modern spaces with stylish design.
Living deck. Image © Rui Nishi
A major departure from conventional nature experience facilities, Sumu encourages a wider section of society to engage in learning, with the aim of bettering our planet’s future.
Living deck and buildings. Image © Rui Nishi
True to its concept of making a positive impact by living among nature, Sumu residents adopt a “regenerative lifestyle” that enhances the environment through everyday activities, from collecting driftwood for use as firewood, to clearing grass to allow cool air to flow through in a way that benefits the landscape.
Living deck and existing rock. Image © Rui Nishi
Sumu's design changes our relationship with nature. It enables residents to discover new possibilities for interacting with nature, and to adapt the way they think and act, thus building relationships with nature that transcend generations.
If more widely applied, its unique approach has the potential to accelerate environmental initiatives.
Cabin deck. Image © Wataru Aoyama
Living deck. Image © Wataru Aoyama
Cabin 1 exterior. Image © Rui Nishi
Kitchen. Image © Rui Nishi
Living deck through dining&kitchen. Image © Rui Nishi
Dining room. Image © Rui Nishi
Lounge. Image © Rui Nishi
Lounge. Image © Fumika Mimura
Bathroom. Image © Rui Nishi
Cabin deck. Image © Rui Nishi
Foundation and structure. Image © Rui Nishi
Cabin 2 interior. Image © Rui Nishi
Cabin 3 interior. Image © Rui Nishi
Plans and elevations
Living area plans and elevations
Underground water cabin
Project name: Sumu Yakushima
Location: Yakushima island Kagoshima prefecture Japan
Client: Sumu Yakushima, Moss Guide Club
Architects/designers: Tsukasa Ono (tono Inc.)
Engineers: Shizen energy Inc., ENERGY MACHIZUKURI-SHA INC.
Construction company: Motchom create
Suppliers: Arimizu sawmill companies
Lighting Designer: Hisaki Kato
Project completion date: May 2022
Top image: Living deck and Lounge. Image © Rui Nishi.
All images © Rui Nishi, Hinano kimoto, Wataru Aoyama.
All drawings © tono Inc.
> via tono Inc.