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Architects Atelier Ryo Abe, Tokyo, Japan

Thursday 24 Feb 2011

Vacant house transformed into arts and dining venue

1,3(C)DAICI_ANO / 5(C)Setouchi International Art Festival 
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Award Entry

Shima Kitchen revitalises discarded buildings and forms an intimate gathering place for the rural island of Teshima 

Shima Kitchen was a renovation project to create a venue for arts and dining from an old vacant house in a village on Teshima, a rural island in the Seto Inland Sea of Western Japan. Around this old house were vacant lands where several other buildings had been demolished a long time ago. An old warehouse and two persimmon trees remained.

We changed the house into an open style kitchen, refitted the warehouse as an art gallery, and extended a sunshade awning around the trees to create an outdoor theatre. The theatre was based on a traditional NOH style, with its stage (butai), veranda (hashikake), and gallery (sajiki), but was designed to adapt to various kinds of event programmes such as live music, modern performance art, and community festivals.

The awning is made of charred timber shingles which are traditionally used as siding on the houses. The shingles were tied loosely to a frame and would flutter slightly in the wind to evoke bird feathers. The structure is created with simple materials that can easily be found even on this isolated island. 34 mm steel water pipes were used as the main columns and main beams, 27 mm steel water pipes as the sub-beams, and D10 steel rods as the grid frame of the awning. We also employed a very light foundation system with spiral steel flat bar piles.

The form of the awning was conceived to flow contiguously from the existing house, with its outer edges lower than the neighbouring houses. In this way the roof fits harmoniously into the surrounding landscape of the village, without disturbing the serene atmosphere. Working with existing structures, traditional methods and simple materials, we created an intimate village gathering place that creates a pleasant feeling of being under the shade of trees.

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