The complex is located in the small town of Yufuin, known for its thermal baths. Built for Comico, one of the largest digital comic websites (‘webtoons’) in Japan – part of NHN Japan Corporation –, the ensemble includes a small museum for contemporary art, and three guesthouses for company staff.
To blend with the townscape, the complex is organized in four low-rise blocks resembling a village. At mid-height, thin eaves separate the first and second floors, emphasizing the horizontality of the volumes. The slope of these elements and the layout of the space defines a series of thresholds and intermediate spaces that frame the view of Yufu mountain.
The most characteristic aspect of the project is perhaps the external cladding of the building, which is covered with yakisugi (charred cedar), a treatment by which the surface of the cedar panels is carbonized to improve durability. To give the facades texture and rhythm, perpendicular boards of this material are interspersed in some parts of the museum, while the enclosures of the houses are built using the yamato-bari technique, where pieces of different sizes overlap slightly, tracing a random pattern.
Comico Art Museum Yufuin and Comico Art Museum House
Kengo Kuma & Associates; Kengo Kuma (socio encargado partner in charge); Shin Ohba, Shuhei Yamane (antiguo empleado former staff), Hironori Nagai, Teppei Iizuka (antiguo empleado former staff) —equipo de proyecto project team—
Ove Arup & Partners Japan (estructuras e instalaciones structural and MEP engineer); Placemedia Landscape Architects (diseño exterior exterior designer)
Fujitsuka Mitsumasa, Satoshi Ikuma, NHN Japan