Sameura Tent Park – The soft, tent-like roof, made of standard-size curved laminated plywood, frames the majestic lake and mountains, and responds to the mountain range, creating an architecture that can cook at the campsite and act like an andon in the center of the vast field. Free from the architectural language of columns and beams, arcs float gracefully on the ground.
Architizer chatted with Kei Ihara and Kosuke Wakuda from TA+A to learn more about this project.
Architizer: What inspired the initial concept for your design?
Kei Ihara & Kosuke Wakuda: Tosa Town in Kochi Prefecture is a medium mountainous area with a declining population. It is a place rich in nature, with a landscape of terraced rice paddies and gentle mountain ridges that are managed with daily hands and spread out before one’s eyes. The shape of the arc, which is morphologically related to the mountains, was the first thing that came to mind. Since the forestry industry is thriving in the area, I thought of a roof that would act primitively against the landscape, using wood and a construction method that would allow for simple construction with as little cutting and other processing as possible.
What do you believe is the most unique or ‘standout’ component of the project?
One day, while walking through a forest park in search of clues for a design, I noticed that objects such as torii gates and playground equipment were scattered around the park in harmony with nature. Instead of creating a sense of place by building the architecture on the spot, we planned to make the architecture and its surroundings appear as a natural place to users by configuring the pillars, beams, roof, sink, and firewood storage area as single elements that are identical to the things in the park.
What was the greatest design challenge you faced during the project, and how did you navigate it?
When we simulated the dynamics of a roof made only of plywood laminated and curved, we found that the free deformation against wind pressure was inevitably large and not feasible. By adding rods to limit the free deformation without compromising the impressive arc form, we were able to create a plywood-only roof as envisioned.
How did the context of your project — environmental, social or cultural — influence your design?
It is influenced by the generous surrounding environment of a vast lake and rolling mountains, the social character of the town of Tosa in Kochi Prefecture, which is actively involved in community development centered on sports activities, and the culture of the region, which has a thriving forestry industry of cedar and cypress trees. In particular, the framing of the landscape and the directly recognizable architectural form of the linkage contribute to the construction of an experiential campsite field in terms of creating a sense of purpose that makes people want to visit the area.
What drove the selection of materials used in the project?
Since this was a project for a public facility, we were required to consider the inevitability of the materials to be selected and the probability of the initial cost. The three types of structural elements were selected based on their inevitability.
What is your favorite detail in the project and why?
This is the steel beam that joins the two roofs and the roof joint. It is easy to see the composition and connections of each element, and to read the rigidity of the horizontal force-bearing parts and the delicacy of the members at the same time.
How important was sustainability as a design criteria as you worked on this project?
While there is no need to consider excessive maintainability since it is a park function with no interior space, we have taken into account the ease of replacing components and roofing in our planning. In particular, the use of standard-size plywood as is suggests that it will always be somewhat inexpensive and easy to process. In terms of the usability of the facility, we also have an awareness of sustainability by having users take their garbage home with them and using natural firewood to start a fire.
In what ways did you collaborate with others, and how did that add value to the project?
The project was realized by combining the expertise of each profession: the plywood factory’s knowledge of the curvature process, the structural engineer’s mesh analysis of the minute roof fluctuations, and the analog full-scale mockups that were successfully created and load tested to confirm actual displacement of the plywood. The project was realized by integrating the expertise of each of these professionals.
Were any parts of the project dramatically altered from conception to construction, and if so, why?
From the beginning to the end, this architecture did not deviate from the idea of focusing on the roof. However, the form of the roof was constantly changing in the team’s discussions. The moment of dramatic change was when we decided to use plywood as the building material. The shape changed dramatically when we decided on the physical properties of the material and its resistance to change, such as bending, as the basis for our decision.
How have your clients responded to the finished project?
Along with the Sameura Canoe Terrace completed the year before last, the construction of two new buildings in this area that echo the surrounding landscape has allowed us to perceive the dynamic landscape of this location in a more perceptive way. The facility began operating this past July and is being enjoyed as an open-ended facility within the Corona Disaster.
Architectural design: Toshiki Misumi (TA+A)
Structural design: Yasushi Moribe (yAt）
Products / Materials
12mm thickness plywood
For more on Sameura Tent Park, please visit the in-depth project page on Architizer.