For this project, we decided to use the materials typically found in a 40-year-old house — quite old for Japanese standards. One of our designers lives in Kamakura, a historic area south of Tokyo, and when she heard that a house was being demolished in her neighbourhood, she asked the contractors to break it down by hand instead of the usual approach involving sledgehammers and bulldozers. In appreciation, the contractors who worked so hard to get us the wood of the facade, the traditional sliding doors and the windows were paid generously: the weight of the wood in beer.
WE LIVE NOWHERE, NEITHER INSIDE, NOR OUTSIDE
– JEAN FRANCOIS LYOTARD, POSTMODERN FABLES
When the wood was delivered to our office, we noticed that the original contractor's stamps and other markings were still visible on the back of the planks. Thus, we decided to rebuild the house inside our office — and we built it inside out. In Japan, most buildings are torn down after only 15-20 years, so we thought our design could make a statement that not everything should be invariably thrown away. Even houses, we proposed, such as the one that stood inside our office should be given a second chance. Alas, most houses in Japan — most buildings in general — are destroyed without a second thought.
Project Name: Second Life (VDAJ Office)
Function: Office, Meeting rooms
Role: Design and project management,
Project size: 200m²
Completion date: 2007
Japan Re-use, Recycled House, Tokyo Architecture Office, Beer for Wood, Tokyo, Denenchofu