learning from the land
Junya Ishigami and his team celebrate the completion of ‘House & Restaurant‘ in the Japanese Yamaguchi city. The sculptural work of the architecture suggests a naturally eroded relief form, recalling the tunnels and rocky vaults of Underground caves, and expressing the familiar quality of roughness found in nature.
In many ways, these organic features can be seen in the architect’s larger oeuvre, with the charred wooden canopy topping off its Kokage-Gumo Pavilionand with the ripples embankment that shapes your Biotop Water Garden Art. In Thailand introduced a rainbow rug, whose thin brick veil is pierced by a series of large carved openings. One of the most experimental Japanese architects of his generation, his poetic visions often seemed too radical to be realised, making the finished projects all the more fantastical.
Upon completion of House & Restaurant in Yamaguchi, Junya Ishigami, Who received the golden trophy of the madonnina from Milan THE DESIGN AWARD 2021-22, share with designboom a detailed account of the design process.
all images © Junya.Ishigami+Associates, unless otherwise noted | header © Yashiro Photo Office
raw and organic: the dig of junya ishigami
This latest Junya Ishigami project for a French restaurant owner now stands as a harmonious combination of a fine dining restaurant and a cozy family home. The raw surfaces of the excavated space reflect the authenticity of the kitchen – this dialogue was truly intentional, even as the unusual construction process uncovered new discoveries.
the architect elaborate: ‘The project is a residence/restaurant for the owner of a French restaurant. He is an old friend of mine, and he was the one who commissioned tables for a restaurant. I was asked to design a building as “heavy” as possible. “I want an architecture whose heaviness increases over time,” she said. ‘It can’t be artificially smooth but rather something with the roughness of nature. Authentic kitchens require such a place..’
‘He also told me that ‘it has to look like it’s been there and will be there for a long time’. His idea was to create a new long-standing restaurant..’
a cozy space to eat and live
Junya Ishigami describes the programmatic balance between home and restaurant, depending on the client’s wishes: ‘He longed for something that was both a house and a restaurant, something that he could pass on to his children and grandchildren. Now, she invites guests to the restaurant like she would invite friends to her house, and with someone special, she would let them into the living room or even stay overnight..’
‘When the restaurant is closed, the lounge serves as a place for the family to spend time or for the children to study. The plan is arranged with the restaurant to the north and the residence to the south. To come and go between the spaces, they can walk through any of the three patios that separate them.’
3D data was generated from a massive model, then the mold was manually excavated
unearthing the inverted landscape
Although the end result of Junya Ishigami’s House & Restaurant looks like a natural cave, the process of sculpting and building the space was methodical, with many moments of exploration. The result is an inverted landscape, carved in part by nature.
Describing the construction of the project, the architect writes: ‘In terms of construction, we conceived a process of constantly sharing, accepting and referencing the inaccuracies and accidents that occurred on the site to create an architecture that internalizes natural distortions and uncertainties..
‘More specifically, we dig a hole in the ground to pour concrete, excavate the volume, and fix glass to create an interior space..’
the team dug a hole in the ground to pour concrete, excavated the volume and fixed the glass to create an interior space
The precise design
‘First, a massive model that went through countless modifications was turned into 3D data. The 3D coordinate data was then input into a total station (TS) survey instrument to determine the points using a pile driving navigation system.. At the same time, construction workers manually dug the hole for accuracy while constantly confirming the position and shape on an iPad. Unexpected factors, such as grass growth, soil collapse, or errors due to manual labor, were tolerated as much as possible..’
‘When the structure was excavated after the concrete solidified, it was covered in mud. With the variety in geology, the nature and appearance of the soil differed from place to place. We originally planned to wash away the dirt to reveal a gray concrete structure. However, we were impressed with how it looked with dirt, so we decided to leave it as it is. It was then that we intuited the atmosphere of a cave and decided to redesign the building with a new image..’