Teikyo University Elementary School | Kengo Kuma and Associates
© Takumi Ota

Japan 2012Teikyo University Elementary School


All schoolhouses in Japan used to be made from wood. Many children learned in the warmth and softness of space created with wood. I too studied in a wooden schoolhouse, and cannot forget the things I experienced. Here, I attempted to reproduce a wooden schoolhouse in a contemporary setting. A wooden schoolhouse is comprised of a large roof and the materiality of wood inside and outside the structure. Diversity in the building has been created that flexibly responds to the surrounding environment and programs inside by changing the length of the roof and the height of the eaves.

Under this plan, the overall building is covered with a large roof, giving the building a serene look on the south side that faces the greenery of Tamakuryo Hill, and a small appearance on the north side where there is a public housing complex. These measures were implemented to achieve harmony with the surrounding environment. The space was configured in such a manner to give you the feeling that you are protected by the roof no matter where you were in the building. Even though it is a 3-story structure, the provision of design features such as an atrium and staggered floors connects different sections of the building to transcend the framework of the grade to which each child belongs, and allows free movement underneath the roof.

In addition to extensive use of wood as a material, recycled construction materials based on natural materials unique to Japan such as rice straw and rush were adopted to give children the opportunity to experience these rich materials.

Team Minoru Yokoo, Atsushi Kawanishi*, Hiroki Tominaga* Cooperation Nihon Sekkei Facility Nihon Sekkei Exterior Nihon Sekkei Others Nihon Sekkei Award 15th Public Building Award, 2014 Annual Architecture Design Commendation Of The Architectural Institute Of Japan, 第14回 JIA環境建築賞 入賞(一般建築部門), The 54th Building Contractors Society (bcs) Prize Publication Shinkenchiku 2013/08 , Kindai Kenchiku 2012/06 Vo.l.66 , Shinkenchiku 2012/05 , GA JAPAN 116 Photography ©︎ Takumi Ota