© Makoto Yoshida

In Kumamoto, the Tomochi Forestry Hall designed by Japanese Architect Taira Nishizawa and completed in 2004 uses local cedar extensively to symbolize the area’s history of forestry.

Tomochi Forestry Hall Technical Information

I’m always thinking about the natural environment. That is the big rival for architects. There are so many different varieties or types of environment in the natural world, but in comparison, within architecture there isn’t sufficient variety. We should create different types of space in our buildings.

– Taira Nishizawa1

Tomochi Forestry Hall Photographs

© DimDesign

Tomochi Forestry Hall / Taira Nishizawa

© Makoto Yoshida


© DimDesign


© DimDesign


© DimDesign

Text by the engineers

Located in the green and hilly Kumamoto Prefecture, this hall uses local cedar extensively and symbolizes the area’s history of forestry.

The two-story building resembles an irregular chrysalis covered with glass. The unique structure helped architect Taira Nishizawa to the AR Award for Emerging Architecture in 2005.

In planning the structural engineering, Arup aimed to ‘make a complex configuration simple and rational.’ Steel and timber members were used in grids intersecting at 45° to form a hybrid structure.

The roof is constructed with steel beams and laminated timber members serving as trusses. The intersecting members form a lattice wall, efficiently distributing forces and reducing member cross-sections’ required size.

Steel was used in place of concrete for the foundations, as the superstructure is relatively light. Steel floor beams are directly connected to steel tubular piles to form the foundation structure.  As steel can easily be reused, this is environmentally friendly and benefits cost and construction time.

Tomochi Forestry Hall Gallery and Plans
Tomochi Forestry Hall / Taira Nishizawa

Floor Plan and Section | © Taira Nishizawa

Tomochi Forestry Hall Image Gallery
About Taira Nishizawa

Taira Nishizawa is a Japanese architect born in 1964 and based in Tokyo. He is the elder brother of Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA). The work of Taira Nishizawa embodies his empirical vision and his rigorous search for materials and proportions.

He won several awards, including the AR Award 2005 and the Prize for Best Young Architect in Japan in 2005.

Cite this article: "Tomochi Forestry Hall / Taira Nishizawa" in ArchEyes, March 16, 2016,