Kiyoshi Kasai’s Awesome ‘Wooden Box 212’ Construction Method: Low-Waste, Pillar-Free, Multistory, Seismically-Resistant Open-Plan Living

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If you’re designing urban homes for Japan, you’ve automatically got two built-in problems: Earthquakes and tiny building footprints. Japan’s seismic woes are well-known, and the nation’s space-tight cities mean you’re always dealing with narrow frontage. The traditional way to combat the former is to use shear walls, which combine bracing and cladding in such a way as to prevent lateral motion. (Think of an unclad wall made from vertical studs, and how it can potentially parallelogram if the floor or ceiling moves; nail some sheets of structural plywood to it and the problem is basically solved.) The traditional way to combat the latter is to design spaces that admit a lot of sunlight and ventilation through that narrow piece of frontage. But that openness doesn’t jive with shear walls, which by definition are clad. Here with the solution is architect Kiyoshi Kasai and his ” Wooden Box 212 ” construction method, which uses wood yet enables large, column- and partition-free spaces. As he describes the issue (roughly translated from Japanese), With narrow-frontage urban housing there is a conflict with providing a window for lighting, ventilation and entrance and reconciling that with a shear wall on the same side…. The design preference in recent years has been to seek a sense of transparency and openness via a wide opening in the outer wall surface of the housing, but achieving this with conventional wood is difficult. (more…)        

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Kiyoshi Kasai’s Awesome ‘Wooden Box 212’ Construction Method: Low-Waste, Pillar-Free, Multistory, Seismically-Resistant Open-Plan Living

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