Concrete technology takes another small and surprising leap, even by exacting Japanese standards, in this delicately perforated pod-for-all-occasions designed by Kazuya Morita. The secret of this remarkable little structure lies in its material and construction. The concrete is fibre-reinforced, a combination of white cement, lightweight aggregate and glass fibre. This mixture was meticulously hand trowelled onto a carved styrofoam mould by skilled plasterers (the traditional Japanese plasterer’s art is known as sakan ). The perforations were created by attaching styrofoam rings to the dome-shaped master mould. When the concrete hardened, the mould was dismantled and removed.
The result is a structure of immense beauty and simplicity. The concrete skin is a mere 15mm thick, with a height and diameter of 1.7m; proportions comparable to those of a hen’s eggshell, according to the architect. Yet this concrete eggshell is also immensely strong and can easily bear the weight of a person. Placed on a raft of tatami mats, the pod becomes a tranquil enclave for contemplation or play. In a forest setting with the sun dappling through the holes, it has a quietly lyrical intensity that seduced the jury, who were also impressed by the ingenuity involved in its making. C. S.
Architect: Kazuya Morita