Community-based design-build・Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan・New Solid-wood (Ita-kura) Heavy-timber (Minka) Homes・Renovations・Natural・Healthy Architecture

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About Us

Company Information

Company Name:
Architectonic Atelier Yuu (Kenchiku Kobo Yuu)
855 Numazaki, Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture (zip code300-2631) Click Here for Map(PDF:105k)
Phone: (Country Code: 81) 029-847-9930
Fax: 029-847-9936
Scope of Business
We are a community-based design-build firm, focusing primarily on wood construction of homes and shops. We perform all aspects of the work, from initial design through all phases of construction. We do new construction, remodels, renovations, and restorations, using the “ita-kura” (solid-wood) construction method in the “minka” (heavy timber) construction tradition. Our philosophy is to create a “vessel for living” for multiple generations, employing a network of local suppliers and craftspeople, utilizing local materials. We build approximately 20 projects per year.
Company Director:
Eiji Tsushima
Origin of the name “Architectonic Atelier Yuu”
“邑” (yuu): city, town, or [archaic] village; originally, “home-like gathering place”
We feel that this kanji embodies the ideas of “community” that we would like to promote.
architectonic (adj.): (1) relating to or characteristic of architecture, design and construction; (2) relating to the scientific systematization of the totality of knowledge.
The Yuu Premises
The Yuu complex consists of various buildings (including a replica of a Jomon era pit-dwelling) and a lumberyard. The main office has a green roof, which blooms in spring with a profusion of lilies and irises.
Main Office (Green Roof)
The main building was originally a pig barn, which was renovated in 2005 to create the Yuu office. Renovation began with the construction of a steel reinforcing framework inside, after which a green roof was installed. The remainder of the work was done by the staff, including planting and initial irrigation of the green roof, and the outer wall treatment (mixture of ash and pine soot).
The lumberyard was originally intended as a storage area for old heavy timbers salvaged from demolished buildings, though it now also includes various new building materials.
The salvaged timbers have been reclaimed from traditional heavy-timber “minka”-style buildings that were torn down for various reasons. The timbers have been carefully labeled as to their position and function in the original construction, so that they can easily be reused as the main structure for a new building.
The Yuu Library
The Yuu library contains about 15,000 books and magazines, mainly related to architecture, art, and urban design; for our reference and for the continuing education of our staff. Visitors are welcome to browse, by appointment.
The Yuu Grounds
Other features of the Yuu premises include various structures used for our regular yearly events (seasonal festivals are held several times per year), temporary storage structures, a koi pond, a natural drying area for lumber, and the Jomon-era pit dwelling replica. We welcome visitors; please come and visit us any time.

Company Profile and Greetings from our Director: Eiji Tsushima


1990: Moved out of Tokyo to Tsukuba because of Mrs. Tsushima’s asthma.
1991: Started a non-profit organization to save old “minka” houses.
1995: With students, organized a rescue and recovery mission after the Great Hanshin Earthquake.
1997: Founded an architectural design company, which became Architectonic Atelier Yuu.

The genesis of “Yuu” (from the Director):

My formative years were in the late 1940s, when Japan was single-mindedly focused on reconstruction after the war. At that time, traditional buildings were pulled down wholesale, in the name of progress. The spectacle of this wanton destruction and the hasty construction of “disposable” and makeshift buildings to replace the housing stock has remained with me all my life. The deplorable practice of tearing down and rebuilding a home after 20 years of use has unfortunately persisted through the end of the 20th century and is still normal. Even now, a house in Japan is viewed as a “consumable”, with no value in itself. Our mission is to be a stone helping to divert this flow in a more sustainable direction.