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Veneer House in minami sanriku

Building Occupancy / Site Capacity: 

Winner of Contract Inspirations Award! (

This is a community centre built to serve the Heisei no mori temporary housing area in Minami Sanriku.

Hiroto Kobayashi of Keio University took on the project after being invited to build a bath for the community in the first months of 2012. As work progressed the bath was in the end found to be unnecessary, but the community centre was completed in the summer of 2012, and includes a large tatami covered meeting area with a small bath to one side.

One of the challenges facing reconstruction efforts in the areas is a marked lack of carpenters and of sophisticated materials and equipment. To overcome that challenge the structure of both phases of the project is formed from plywood panels that can be cut on site and assembled without special skills and using only basic tools and hardware, including hammers, nails, and saws. The entire project can be prepared and assembled by un-skilled volunteer labor and by the residents themselves.

The project was finished with financial support of the Environmental Innovators Program at Keio University and from Architecture For Humanity (Tokyo), in partnership with Friends Holding Hands (FHH))and Beyond Exposure.

An updated version of the structure is currently being used to build a multi-functional building in the same region, with financial support from AFH HQ (


minami sanriku, Miyagi

Project Details

NAME: Veneer House in minami sanriku
PROJECT LEAD: Hiroto Kobayashi
LOCATION: minami sanriku, Miyagi, Japan
START DATE: August 24, 2011
CURRENT PHASE: Construction complete
COST: $75000 USD (Estimated)
SIZE: 12 sq. m
PROJECT TYPE: Community Center
BENEFICIARIES: the residents of the heisei no mori temporary housing area in minami sanriku. In the summer of 2011 peak use was about 3000 persons / month.