Même, Kengo Kuma's experimental residence

An innovative system made of wood, glass fibre and recycled materials

by Malcolm Clark
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Kengo Kuma has presented his “House of the Future”, an experimental residence called Même – Experimental House that aims to create a prototype and lead the way to a revolution in thinking that is already underway.

Japan has been deeply wounded by recent tragedies but also thanks to them, it has become a laboratory where it can question itself on the very possibility of creating architecture today. This is also the theme of the Japanese Pavilion - Home for All, which won a golden lion at the recent Architecture Biennale in Venice.

In this context, the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has created a “House of the Future”, in the province of Hokkaido. If our interpretation of the name “même” is correct, the Japanese master seems to be telling us that the house of the future will always be basically “the same” although technology and design philosophy (and use) will be completely revolutionised.

In the project “même”, the volume of a typical rural house in this region of Japan, is made from innovative materials:

a wooden frame of Japanese larch completely covered by membranes, polyester fluorocarbon outside and glass fibre inside. Between the two membranes there is a polyester insulator obtained by recycling PET bottles which allows the light to penetrate.

This composition is based on the concept that the convective movement of air inside the wall can keep the indoor environment comfortable and help save a lot of energy (combined with a very efficient geothermal system too).

The other, more philosophical aspect, involved in the design of this opalescent skin is the desire for a life surrounded by natural light, “as if you were lying in a meadow in the middle of the day”. “The best green energy is the one we do not consume.” According to this philosophy, the house is devoid of any lighting system. This undoubtedly provocative approach deserves more than a few easy objections and invites us to reconsider a life that is synchronized to the rhythm of nature..

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    References
    74

    Même – Experimental House

    Hiroo District / Japan / 2012

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    Japanese Pavilion - Home for All

    Venice / Italy / 2012