Construction is substantially completed! All interior finishes paint, installment of lighting fixture, switches, fireplace, is now in place and ready for use. Areas left finished are the entrance walls and shoji screens where the handmade paper made here will be used once all equipment is in place. A workshop is scheduled for the entrance wallpaper in mid March.
Shoji screen left unfinished for later
Master Tsukahara was at the site today with the contractor to check everything was in working in order. He seemed very excited about the space and especially excited about the fireplace.
Everyone loves the fireplace
Now that the space is ready, the paper making equipment will be placed, and the mill is ready for operation! Looking forward to this space being used. Also, how it looks without snow...
Construction is nearing completion, shoji doors and all exterior panels installed, awaiting few lighting fixtures, doors and toilet stalls to complete project at the end of the week.
Shoji doors installed
Master Tsukahara was at the site today to see the progress and also to check on the shoji size to make sure the amount he needs to make.
Master Tsukahara checking the shoji size
We also discussed about the paper making workshop planned in March to make the wallpaper filling the entrance walls and ceiling. He brought some sample papers and the tool he made specifically for that workshop. Exciting!
Tool and sample paper for the workshop
After few trials making the paper, he found out the place in the back to be too cold and freezes the papers during drying process. The new warmer space when completed, will be perfect to prevent it. He also currently does not have the paper drying machine yet, so he uses the glass surface to dry them. Once the renovation is complete, he can use the large glass surface in the front in the meantime.
Using glass surface to dry the papers for now
Construction is progressing as scheduled without too much affect from the winter storm so far. The place is quickly taking shape with the installation of the exterior wood panels and interior walls.
Building in the snow
The exterior wood panels used for this project is a traditional treatment method relatively commonly used in western Japan called "Yakisugi"(burned cedar). The surface of the wood is burned and carbonized for better weathering performance. The installed panels have sharp look from afar with nice rich texture when seen upclose.
Entrance with Yakisugi Exterior Panels
The custom shoji doors was delivered to the site and will later have the paper by Mr. Tsukahara few areas will have colored washi(Japanese paper) on it giving some "lively" feel to the space.
Delivered Shoji Screen
50% with Windows!
Construction is progressing as scheduled with the long awaited windows delivered and installed. With the windows installed, now one can sense the overall feel for the new space.
This marks the 50% in our construction schedule, and will soon move forward to installing the exterior wood panels and walls.
Newly installed windows
When we were there, the local TV crew was there to shoot Master Tsukahara's first paper making since the disaster 2.5 years ago. We watched quietly as his hands swiftly moves rythmically in the cold water, and listened to him explaining each step, the tools, material, history, and the master he learned from. We have never seen him so happy.
It was our first time observing his paper making in person, but was immediately struck by the sheer beauty of human motion and connection with the materials and tools at hand. Ushiogami Paper here is by no means any "product" but a work of art.
TV crew shooting the paper making
First batch of paper by Master Tsukahara since the disaster
Framing up for windows
Construction on the interior is progressing. This week mostly focuses on putting up the framing for the windows expected to deliver in a few days time.
It seems to be quite a difficult task as the original building frame is facing all directions, showing its toll of time. Carpenters have been working hard like a chiropractor fixing the crocked bones, to put the structures back in its leveled place. Within our limited resources, we will have to make due with minor adjustments here and there to accept those new windows.
Happy New Year!
Work resumed on January 6th continuing on the demolition work. Concrete blocks are laid on the perimeter and where the new ADA toilet is going to be installed.
Concrete on the approach have cured, next pour for the inside is scheduled for next week. Plumbing sleeves are being quickly installed in preparation for it. Late next week, new windows are expected to arrive (weather permitting) and installed reaching 50% then!
Locating the drain
Fighting the storm
Work commenced immediately after ground breaking to make sure the concrete for the approach is poured before the big snow storm hitting this area. Snow is already getting quite heavy but the outside has been boarded off to help the curing process.
Demolition is also carefully underway making sure not to disrupt the original structure. As it has been apparent from the beginning, the building is slightly tilted and parts sinking. Although this building have survived many earthquakes in the past, it seems, a proper reinforcing work is required to make sure the building withstands future earthquakes.
Work for this year is complete and will resume January 6th.
Exterior approach wrapped up to fight off the snow
Careful demolition and reinforcing
The project broke ground on a snowy morning on December 12th. All members from Ushiogami and a representative from the contractor with AfH design fellows attended the ceremony.
Everyone followed the shinto priest to all the areas which requires some demolition or repairs and were purified with salt and sake. All wishes for the safe construction and project completion.
Everyone from Ushiogami seemed relieved to have finally made it this far. And was now looking forward to the completion of the project.
Shinto Priest praying for construction safety
Long winter is already here
Construction and design team met on December 2nd at the GC office located at Akiu (a place known for its hot springs 30 min. away from Sendai) to fine tune the design for value engineering and review budget as well as making sure the construction schedule meets the requirements with the coming winter storm in mind.
After some good negotiation and discussion with all the parties involved in the project, we are ready for the contract!
Team gather at the GC office for project fine tuning
House with a river
Ushiogami had originally planned to build their paper making studio on a tsunami affected site in the town of Shichigahama. With the drop in ground level, it turned out the water there now permanently contains salt, which is not good for paper making. They have now found a new location up in the mountains this time in the town of Sasaya near Yamagata prefecture. The plan is to renovate an old house.
Inside the old house to be renovated
On July 11th, MakiBiz staff visited there for the first time.
MakiBiz staff visiting the new project site
The old house showed history of few additions, with previous exterior walls being capped with a newer ones. Not much appeal to the original house, except a fresh water river running through it, a critical item for making paper.
Water running through the house corridor
A design team will be assembled with drawings to be submitted mid September.