Designed by Masafumi Harada of Tokyo office Niji Architects with AI Design and OHNO JAPAN, the cafeteria is used by employees from a nearby construction company and by members of the local community.
The architects developed a cross-braced timber frame made from Douglas fir columns with a section of 120 by 120 millimetres and beams of 180 by 120 millimetres, which supports a corrugated metal roof and is left exposed inside the single-storey building.
"The detailing and materials used [are] intentionally designed to appear unrefined to create a relaxing atmosphere helping visitors to unwind within the space," explained the architects.
Throughout the interior, materials are used in their raw state, with chunky chipboard covering the ceiling and walls, bare light bulbs hanging from black cords and poured concrete used for the floor.
One side of the building is covered in full-height glazing, which is fixed directly to the timber frame using plywood battens. Translucent glass on the opposite facade provides privacy while allowing more light to reach the interior.
A kitchen at one end of the building can be seen from the main dining hall, which adjoins a lounge area containing comfortable seating and exercise equipment.
Photography is by Masafumi Harada.
Here's a short project description from the architects:
This cafeteria is a timber framed, single-story building located in Ushimado of Setouchi city, Okayama prefecture, Japan.
It serves as a canteen for a local construction company as well as a cafeteria for the local community.
The building structure and its finishes are kept simple and the presence of the building is kept to a bare minimum.
The building design focuses mainly on its primary function as a cafeteria for the local people and to familiarise itself to the community.
The folded metal plate roof is directly fixed to the 3 m grid timber structural frame, which consists of 120 mm x 120 mm timber used for columns, foundation, bracings and 180 mm x 120 mm timber beams.
The building completes itself with glass walls, which are fixed directly to the timber structure with timber battens.
The detailing and materials used intentionally designed to appear unrefined to create a relaxing atmosphere helping visitors to unwind within the space.
With a single large internal space and full aperture to the external views, this highly transparent building becomes a bright, open and inviting cafeteria.
We believe this construction method can also be used for other building types. It can be a prototype of new prefabricated timber construction with endless possibilities for further development.
Project name: Cafeteria in Ushimado
Location of site: Okayama, Japan
Building area: 166.32 m2
Total floor area: 144.00 m2
Type of Construction: Timber structure
Number of stories: 1F
Building height: 3.37 ｍ
Principal use: Shop (Cafeteria)
Project by: Niji Architects + AI Design + OHNO JAPAN
Principal designer: Masafumi Harada / Niji Architects
Construction: UG Giken
Design period: August 2012 - December 2012
Construction period: January 2013 - April 2013
Structure: Exposed timber structure
Roof: Folded metal roof
External façade: Clear float glass t=10 mm with glass film
Window: Wooden sash window and aluminum sash window
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