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Japanese architects Kengo Kuma and Associates have designed a Starbucks coffee shop on the main approach to the Dazaifu Tenmangu, one of the major shrines in Japan. There are several traditional Japanese buildings along the main road to the shrine. Using a unique system of weaving thin wooden batons diagonally, the architects have created a structure that harmonizes with the traditional architecture of the shrine town.
Following is a description from the architects, “The building is made of 2,000 stick-like parts in the sizes of 1.3m – 4m length and 6cm section. Total length of the sticks reached as far as 4.4km. We had experimented the weaving of sticks for the project of Chidori and GC Prostho Museum Research Center, and this time we tried the diagonal weaving in order to bring in a sense of direction and fluidity. Three sticks are joined at one point in Chidori and GC, while in Starbucks four steps come to one point because of the diagonal – a more complicated joint.
We solved the problem by slightly changing positions of the fulcrums, dividing the four sticks into two groups to avoid concentration on a single point. Piling up of small parts from the ground was highly developed in the traditional architecture of Japan and China. This time the method was greatly improved in combination with state-of-the art technology so that people are brought further into the architecture. It is a fluid, cave-like space.”
Image Courtesy: Kengo Kuma and Associates