camping cottage is a lodging residence located in Nigata in japan. This project
incorporates the unusual location in its design to create a space that
primarily focuses on the nature that surrounds it. Between the spectacular
views seen out the large windows and the stepped kitchen reflecting the slope
of the land, this house is truly one of a kind.
Camping Cottage b was designed by Atelier Bow Wow. Atelier Bow Wow is a Tokyo
based architectural firm founded in the year 1992. The firm was co founded by
Yo Shiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kajima .
was born in Kanagawa,
Japan in 1965 and is a graduate of the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Since
founding Atelier Bow Wow he has been a guest lecturer at various prestigious
colleges such as Royal
Danish Academy of Fine Arts Architecture School
(2011-2012), Barcelona Institute of Architecture (2011), Rice
University (2014) and Kyoto Seika University (2012). (Wow, 200)
Kajima was born in Tokyo,
Japan in 1969. She originally graduated from Japan’s Women’s University.
Similar to her co-founder, she has acted as a guest professor in various
collages across the globe, including but not limited to
University of Tsukuba (2002), University of Tsukuba
(2009) and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine
Arts, Architecture School (2011-2012).
Later, Yoichi Tamai joined
the firm in 2004 and has been there ever since. Born in Nagoya, Japan in 1977,
Tamai became a partner at Atelier Bow Wow in 2015. He is a graduate of Tokyo
Institute of Technology with masters in engineering. (Wow, 200)
Atelier Bow Wow focuses on
the exploration of urban micro architecture and is also commonly known for its
cultural and domestic architecture.
When it comes to exploring
urban micro architecture in various cities, Tsukamoto has said, “. We go there few
months before the exhibition and observe the behavior of the city and people.
Then we design something based on this observation. I think it works well. For
example, in the Shanghai Biennale we designed Furnicycle (2002). This is based
on the observation of customizing bicycles and furniture in public space.” Bow
wow take the location oftheir project and carefully incorporate it into each of
their designs. They are very concerened with space and how to truly utilase it
to the best of their abilities. looking at the inhabitants of the space, Bow
Wow can see what makes a public space, “he quality of public space is up to the
peoples’ participation. If all the participants are just a customer it is not a
real public space. For example, in a shopping mall there are many people
gathering and talking. It looks like public space, but they are just customers.
They are all guests” (White, 2007)
Atelier Bow Wow have come with various theories that they
incorporate into their practice. For example, Pet Architecture is a term the
firm uses to describe a building being squeezed into a small urban space. As a
result these buildings tend to be designed with curious shapes, windows and
ventilation systems.(Gert, 2004)
Behaviorology is another theory created by Atelier of Bow
Wow. This is the “understanding of of the complex relationship between people,
the building and natural elements.” It goes further than the idea that “form
follows function” it bases form on the behavior of those people, building and
Da- Me architecture (no good architecture) is a term coined
by Atelier Bow Wow to describe architectural design that is so determined to
fit the site and function that there is no real attention to the visual
aesthetic. Bow Wow have described these buildings as being “stubbornly honest”.
The client, brief requirements, aspirations
In 1998, it was proposed by Kawanishi city
council to rebuild an existing campsite for a brand new international Open Air
Art Festival. Architects and artists from all over Japan would be invited
to design paths through the chosen forest and equip them with park benches,
viewpoints and bungalow huts that would allow campers to spend the
night. The Kawanishi camping cottage B was one of the first realized
projects on the forest site. The architects, engineers and builders only had a
month from the first sketch to the building permit. Therefore, the study
was preceded by possible volumes of land selection.(Verlag GmbH, 2010)
Historical, cultural context and influences
The Kawanishi Camping Cottage was clearly
influenced by the ‘butterfly plan’ or ‘the double suntrap plan’. It was
commonly found in late Victorian Architecture and in the early arts and crafts
movements. Large houses in England took on this design in the early 1900’s.
However, it was not limited to the UK as examples of this plan can be seen made
by architects such as Bruce Price in the USA.
The Butterfly plan is the idea of two or more wings being designed and
built at an angle to the core. An example of the butterfly plan can be seen in Home Place, Kelling, Norfolk, by Edward Schroeder Prior (1903–4).
As years went on, architectural designers became
more experimental, playing with more daring angles and more wings.
In Amsterdam, the Netherlands, we can see how the
butterfly plan revolutionized. The Amsterdam school style of architecture
incorporated the butterfly plan, as can be seen by Michel de Klerk’s Spaarndammerplantsoen (1914-1920).
Plan of Spaarmdammerplansteon)
De Klerk designed one
single plan with a V shape ground plan. The four story building is seen to have
2 wings separated as they come out from the core, a very small acute angle
In the Kawanishi Camping cottage, there are 3
different wings all set out at different angles to the centre, allowing each
section to have its own function while still remaining as an open space.
Atelier Bow Wow’s cottage adapts an asymmetric
radial arm plan. What makes this take on the butterfly plan interesting is that
each wing is a different size and set at a different level.
The upper ground floor is for sleeping
accommodation, north wing at intermediate level is for washing and bathing,
kitchen steps down with the terrain below and is terminated by an entrance deck
that also serves as a balcony.
The Kawanishi camping cottage is located in Kawanishi, Nakauonuma-gun, Niigata Prefecture. Kawanishi is
located in Niigata Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo on the Sea of ??Japan. The camping forest is an extremely uneven terrain with
wildlife, forestery and lakes. The camping cottage sits in the crests of a hill
above a lake. It is surrounded by deciduous trees and is already a ready made
natural camping place. (Pople, 2003)
As a result of the geographical position of the 16430sqm site, the
general area will often experience frequent earthquakes and tremors. Naturally,
this can cause potential problems for a narrow section building on stilts such
as this one. However, while the building may be narrow, the plan gives the
cottage a lateral satiability that secures its structure in challenging
conditions. (Pople, 2003)
In the winter Kawanishi may often experience snow
that can reach a depth of 4 metres or 13 ft. Therefore, the decision was made
by Atelier Bow Wow to raise the house on timber stilts and have a series of
narrow sections with a steep pitched roof. The stilts also meant it was easier
for the designers to work with the terrain and give the structure more
The kawanishi camping cottage has quite an
unusual design. The interior of the three narrow sections are all set at
slightly different heights. While the section standing on the sloped terrain
has an obvious dip, there is one step that brings you up to the sleeping
corridor, the largest section. The choice of site is interesting, as they chose
to work on both relatively flat ground, but also a steep slope.
The all black interior is an innovative design.
Naturally, the main focus of the cottages design is to look out on the
beautiful surroundings. The large open windows allow this, but the all black
interior forces your eye to look out of them. This unusual tool surprisingly
does not make the cottage a dark, depressing space, but a bright, reflective
Material and technology
The structure is timber framed timber posts are
placed along the perimeter. As the principal structure is timber, it is
possibly susceptible to greater damage when the building is exposed to water or
fire. The camping cottage has a horizontal, external boarding
surrounding the entire structure that acts as a rain screen. It also has an
internal screen of ply wood which is stained black in order to highlight the
views out. The cottage is standing on timber stilts, lifting the structure off
the ground.(Wow, 1999,
interior of the cottage is a dark, enclosed space. The black plywood could
cause causes the space to feel even narrower than the structure already is.
However, the windows are shuttered and staggered on either side of external
walls on either wing. This clever device draws all attention to the multiple
and complex views of the trees and of the lake. These picturesque views are the
main focus of the occupiers. The rest of the inside walls are practically bare
and kept free of clutter. (Pople, 2003)
The kitchen wing is the smallest of the three. In
the kitchen there is a single, brightly coloured, island unit that also acts as
a fixed dining table space that can seats up to eight people. Apart from the
washing area, there are no rooms as such in the camping cottage. It is open
plan, the camping cottage is a continual space split up only by the various
levels and directions of the wings. (Pople, 2003)
GERT, E. 2004.
Bright Green: Pet Architecture.
N. 2003. Small Houses, Laurence King
GMBH, K. 2010. Kawanishi camping cottage Online.
arch +. Available: http://www.archplus.net/home/archiv/artikel/46,318,1,0.html
M. 2007. Atelier Bow-Wow: Tokyo Anatomy Online.
A. B. Kawanishi Camping Cottage.
A. B. 200. Biography Online.
WOW, A. B. 1999. Kawanishi
Camping cottages Online. Available: http://www.bow-wow.jp/profile/1999/kawanishi/index.html