The use of wood and technique_ Kengo Kuma

The works of architecture with wood of Kengo Kuma are loaded with technique and teachings about the use of this material.

GC Prosto Museum Research Center_ Kengo Kuma
GC Prosto Museum Research Center_ Kengo Kuma

It is common to find modern structural systems inspired by traditional Japanese techniques, systems whose architectural concept is born of detail. This allows him to work at very different scales starting from the same concept.

His works are full of three-dimensional latticework of wooden beams perpendicular to each other, and also slats that are mortised so that one piece fits into another without nails or adhesives. This is the chidori type of joint, _a technique used in the construction of wooden toys in the city of Hida Takayama_. This is how he named his collection of modular furniture, which makes it possible to build different shelves and tables without tools.

Wood modular isometric diagrams. Kengo Kuma


The same concept carries over to large-scale works such as the Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum, where Kuma also shows his knowledge of the material. He knows how to treat it in order to leave it out in the open, and then make the building belong to the place. The wood seems to be in its natural environment, in the midst of the mountains and the landscape. “The concept of space in architecture is organic, and organic, as we use the term, means natural, it means essential. It means belonging to the place…” Frank Lloyd Wright.

Wood structure by Kengo Kuma

The technique with wood of Kengo Kuma is based on a very essential knowledge of the material. He knows in which section the necessary raw material comes from, as well as its resistance to apply the optimal spans and propose unions in accordance with the final result to be obtained. His work is very close to the simplicity of the joints and the architectural solution, which is why he achieves admirable results.

Kengo Kuma’s works with this technique of wood

In this line we have recently worked in Gubia with bamboo and specifically in the design of the gaming space of the new casino of the Sevillian company Royal-coin. Bamboo slats of different sections cross each other forming a three-dimensional framework that delimits the space.

Schematic proposal of a wood structure by Kengo Kuma.

Different prototypes, with different cross-sections and different profile mortises allow us to study joints, connections, ties… A new challenge in the bamboo solutions that we have already used on numerous construction sites.

Models and details for the wood ceiling at the Dr. Leïla Mezian Foundation Museum, conceptual work by Kengo Kuma.
Models and details for wooden ceiling in the Foundation Museum
Details and mock-ups for the ceiling proposal for the Museé de la Fondation Docteur Leïla Mezian, Casablanca, Morocco.