This renovation worked around Japan’s zoning laws by using yobitsugi

Aoyagi, Japan – Call it some sort of respect for the elder: the zoning laws in the Yamagata prefecture prevented a 30-year-old house made with now-aged materials, to be demolished to make way for a new construction. Unfortunately, that was the specific location Country Market had available for its new restaurant and fresh produce station.

Good thing architect Ryusuke Nanki was a fan of yobitsugi, the traditional Japanese method of repairing damaged pottery with non-conforming parts from other ceramic objects, drawing attention to the damage as a way to celebrate uniqueness. That approach translated into a renovation project that combined what the he calls a ‘run-of-the-mill residence consisting of an unremarkable floor plan’ with a new layer that favours a colourful sense of boldness.

For example, there’s the attention-grabbing green palette that turns the new space into ‘a verdant, light-filled forest.’ Nanki cleared the first floor of the residence to create a high ceiling, and connected the ground and top floor through an open stairwell made of a combination of old and new lumber. A set of old beams, which had to be preserved due to structural matters, connect to a new countertop. The green stripes painted on the louvered entryway only become visible depending on the viewer’s vantage point, and the fresh produce – which comes directly from a nearby garden – gets an extra glow from the fluorescent lighting.

‘A renovation encompasses more than simply replacing the interior or exterior of a building with new and pristine material,’ explained the Tokyo-born architect, who is fittingly a former pupil of Shigeru Ban. ‘Rather, as this project demonstrates, renovation can also encompass an organic outgrowth based on daily discoveries over the course of construction, filled with unforeseen innovation.’

cargocollective.com/ryusukenanki

Liked this article?
We've got more for you

Sign up to our newsletter for weekly updates. Or view the archive.