In a small town with 600 people, most of whom are over 65, creating the necessary infrastructure for tourism, by employing local talent, can be hard. But not impossible. As it turns out, architecture studio VUILD managed to create a second home in Toga village (Nanto, Japan), where people can stay while visiting their relatives or while exploring the town. They involved the community by using only local lumber and shopbot, a 3D woodworking machine.
Toga village had a lot of potential, mountains and forests covering 97% of the land, but not the skilled workers to turn all that lumber in “gold”. Elders, women and kids didn’t have the power or the knowledge to build a sustainable, beautiful home from scratch.
VUILD came to the rescue by not building the place for them but giving them the tools to do so. Shopbot, a computer numerical control (CNC) milling machine, was given the task to slice the logs and turn them into wooden boards.
The digital fabrication machine was also fed with local traditional architectural techniques called ‘gassho zukuri’ and ‘wakunouchi’ to help workers put the boards together in an aesthetically-pleasing and functional form, as both techniques help buildings withstand heavy snowfalls.
The rest was into the hands of the Toga people.
In order to connect living with creating, we wish to turn everyone into designers.VUILD vision
The local community was able to contribute, because they had to work with small, already-cut pieces of wood, instead of chopping the trees themselves. No scaffold was required, either.
The final result? The “house for marebito”, a warm, minimalist guesthome, that feels part of the nature and perfectly integrates within the village culture.