We are excited to announce Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP as the winner of the WAN Sustainable Buildings Award 2016 for their exceptional project, Kamikatz Public House – Congratulations!

The final winner was selected from a shortlist of six diverse projects by our expert jury panel Chris Castle, Managing Director at EPR Architects, Jon Eaglesham, Director at Barr Gazetas, Nille Juul-Sorensen, Director at Arup, Jason Martin, Partner at HawkinsBrown and Jason Speechly-Dick, Design Director at Atkins. 

The experienced jury all agreed with absolute conviction that Kamikatz Public House from Japan, deserved to claim this year’s winning title.

Located in Kamikatsu, this town is committed to zero waste and aims to become a sustainable recycling society. Kamikatsu already attains an 80% recycling rate by sorting its waste into 34 categories. Used items are displayed at the recycle centre like a store. As mass-production and mass-consumption society reaches an impasse, the world holds great expectations for this movement.

Kamikatz Public House is a private-sector business which sympathises with the principles of this town. This project was launched with the concept of integrating a shop that sells household sundries, food, beer by weight, a brewery and a pub. As the word “pub” comes from “public house,” Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP decided that they would bring the principles of the community, the wisdom and ways of the people, towards creating waste into form, through architecture. The aim was to create a public house so that the community could feel a sense of pride in their actions. The space is full of improvisation, from empty bottle chandeliers, newspaper wallpaper, reconstructed furniture and farm equipment for product display fixtures, showcasing the creative combination and use of waste material. This project is about changing opinions and Chris approvingly stated, “It’s trying to illustrate architecturally a very strong idea which is to do with zero waste. There’s a very strong community engagement here, there’s been other buildings for the community, but this is being fed into by the community. There’s also a fantastic integration of the community, with genuine community involvement in the fundamentals of the design which is just great.” Jason S. went on to say, “It’s affordable, practical and responds to the needs of its inhabitants. All of the projects seem to be public funded apart from this one, which is a small business, so it gets another tick, because this has to survive, it has to stack up financially.”

The pub became a local symbol when looking up from the town, with the windows comprising of fittings from abandoned houses were set eight meters high. The gathered windows that had illuminated the town previously, now serve as a lantern of hope to shine upon the town struggling with a declining population. The elevated ceiling effectively ventilates the warm air that stagnates above during summer, while the double layer of window fittings trap air and enhance insulation. The ceiling fan circulates heat from the carbon-neutral radiation heater that makes effective use of branches from the forest. Not only the does the architecture conserve energy and resources along with reducing harmful emissions though reuse, reduce, and recycle, it is also starting to enhance a circulation of the regional economy, as well as tourism. 

Although Kamikatz Public House is a small low-cost architecture project, it embraces the grand dream of contributing to creating a sustainable social system. Jon concluded on this project simply stating, “I think there is a charm to it and it evokes different emotions. You know, you normally see a beautiful building, for those reasons, but this is charming. As well as being technically excellent, it tells a really nice story doesn’t it?”

WAN AWARDS would like to congratulate Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP for their incredible winning project and to thank this year’s jury panel for their sincere discussions on sustainability. We would also like to thank all those who contributed to this year’s award by entering.

Christina Ingram

Awards Co-ordinator

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