Ark of Bamboo

Ark of Bamboo by Toki Lab and Takahashi Kogyo
In Motoyoshi-cho, there used to be approximately one meeting space for every two hundred residents. Four of these structures were lost in the tsunami. The locals’ need to reunite and share their experiences was urgent. Many were deciding whether they would stay and rebuild or leave their community behind.

Ark of Bamboo by Toki Lab and Takahashi Kogyo
After visiting the town and talking to his architectural collaborator, Kazushi Takahashi (of Takahashi Kogyo), Professor Toki realized that his knowledge of temporary bamboo structures can be used to help build a badly needed gathering place.

The form was derived from testing the behavior of the six-meter-long (20 feet) bamboo poles. Construction had to be carried out by student volunteers. The structure needed to form a large enough circle to flexibly accommodate various activities inside.

Ark of Bamboo by Toki Lab and Takahashi Kogyo
Local fishermen and farmers helped direct with their knowledge of bamboo construction. The bamboo poles are joined together with rope. Its structural strength is multiplied by use of duct tape and cutouts on bamboo.

Ark of Bamboo by Toki Lab and Takahashi Kogyo
The building was put together on the ground and then lifted to erect it. The footing beams, also made with bamboo, are secured by sandbags.

Ark of Bamboo by Toki Lab and Takahashi Kogyo
The bamboo structure is covered with a special fabric. The stretchy material is hung from rings attached to the roof structure.

Ark of Bamboo by Toki Lab and Takahashi Kogyo
The ark was completed in October, 2011, with a hope to reunite the residents of Motoyoshi-cho area. It has been well-received by the locals and houses the practices for their annual festival, thus preserving important local traditions.

This is one of one hundred works selected from the previous years’ JA Yearbook and featured in our recently published ebook: JA Yearbooks: 100 Works.