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

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Yuu Philosophy

Principles for Dwellings

1. Regional Materials, Region-specific Design
Building Community, Building Comfortable Dwellings

We are a regional design-build firm: we design for the Kanto region of Japan, both in terms of climate and culture. As much as possible, we procure our building materials, particularly heavy timber, from this region, and we work only with local craftspeople.
In the past, this “regional” working style was a given; at least until the end of WWII. For most of human history, the construction of buildings revolved around the development of technology to exploit existing materials. After the war, in Japan this was largely replaced by the development of materials to respond to rapidly changing technology. The variety of available building materials increased enormously, and, partly due to government encouragement of rapid development, an attitude of “just get it built” became increasingly common among builders. This drastically changed the culture of home-building.
Unfortunately, the major result of the push to ensure a “minimum standard of housing” was to do exactly that—most housing was built to the very minimum of standards. In addition, there was no time-tested understanding of the lifetime performance of these new building materials, many of which have not only aged less than gracefully, but have adverse effects on human health and the environment.

On the other hand, we now have a ready supply of local, high-quality timber such as “sugi” (cryptomeria, or Japanese cedar) for construction, which was planted immediately after the war. This valuable renewable resource should be used both in order to protect and maintain it, and to maintain the world-famous traditions and expertise of Japan’s skilled woodworkers.
Taking advantage of these regional resources allows us to once again match our technology to the natural, healthy building materials around us, rather than trying to fit our lives to the dictates of man-made materials. Using familiar materials, we reconnect with the warmth of traditional construction, where the home is a “vessel for living”.