Yaku island, off the southwest coast of Japan, was listed as a heritage site in 1993 because of its value as a biosphere reserve. It is particularly important for its virgin jungle filled mainly with Japanese cedar (sugi), one of the world’s oldest tree species. This small mountain hut for hikers in the National Park of Yakushima Island is built on the foundations of an old shelter that had been destroyed, so the impact on the terrain is minimized. The basic structure consists of wood beams and pillars braced by cross-shaped metallic stretchers. The space between supports is closed by slightly separated paper tubes, which let light and air pass through. This system makes it easy to replace the tubes in case the extreme climate deteriorates them. The roof, constructed with corrugated sheet, is deeply sloped with large flanges to protect the hut from rainwater.
In spite of its reduced size, inside the hut there are three differentiated areas connected by two flights of stairs; and on the top level the hall extends towards the exterior in the form of a balcony that overlooks the exuberant natural environment.
Shigeru Ban Architects; Project Team: Shigeru Ban, Nobutaka Hiraga, Reiji Watabe, Jun Matsumori
Structural Engineer: Hoshino Architect & Engineer
General Contractor: Hirauchi Construction