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Kyodo No Mori or Forest of Kyodo as its more commonly known is a Japanese co-housing project which was designed at the turn of the millennia. This project has caught my interest as an excellent case study of how development can adapt to an ever changing city and the first cohousing project in Japan.  The site is set within the backdrop of an ever-changing city, without any historic or business centre, “the only constant seems to change itself.” (Meltzer, 2005)

Kyodo Meltzer, G. (2005). Sustainable community : learning from the cohousing model. 1st ed. Victoria, B.C.: Trafford, pp.107-112.

Figure 1: Site plan of Kyodo no Mori Co-housing (Meltzer, 2005)

Interestingly the project has been significantly impacted by the concept of metabolism which was conceived in Japan in the 1960-70s, as a means of retreating away from urban chaos and natural disasters, “envisioning the complete transformation of Japan as a system of political, social, and physical structures into resilient spatial and organizational patterns adaptable to change.” (Schalk, 2014)

Furthermore, metabolism designers see the city and buildings are organic forms which change and don’t have a fixed form. “rather than a fixed form and function, instead sees buildings and city as an assemblage of component parts that could be upgraded over time.” (Meltzer, 2005)

Kyodo Christian, D. (2017). “Forest” Cohousing in Japan | The Cohousing Association. [online] Cohousing.org. Available at: http://www.cohousing.org/forest-cohousing [Accessed 9 Apr. 2017].Figure 2: building structure (Christian, D. 2017). The Cohousing Association. [online]

Kyodo’s design

Although the development is low-rise totalling three stories above ground, they have managed to fit 12 units on average 90sqm on a site that is just 0.08 hectares. The site is home to around 30 occupants. At the time Japan has a rather strange lease agreement known as ‘Tsukuba’ which is a leasehold agreement which lasts for 30 years and then goes to renegotiation more often than not resulting in building demolition. However, as all parties were highly motivated by environmental “sought a more enduring architecture.” (Meltzer, 2005)

Kyodo Christian, D. (2008). “Forest” Cohousing in Japan, Pt.II. [online] Begoodcafe.com. Available at: http://begoodcafe.com/archive-bgc/project/ecvc_en [Accessed 9 Apr. 2017].

Figure 3: Concrete Structure and nature intertwining (Christian, D. 2008). Cohousing in Japan, Pt.II.

The design is heavily influenced by metabolism sees urban development co-existing with the environment, designers set out with three intentions towards the environment those being “capturing and enhancing nature’s offerings, imitating nature in architecture, applying nature’s lessons in life.” (Meltzer, 2005)

Kyodo Christian, D. (2008). “Forest” Cohousing in Japan, Pt.II. [online] Begoodcafe.com. Available at: http://begoodcafe.com/archive-bgc/project/ecvc_en [Accessed 9 Apr. 2017].Figure 4: Roof gardens and green space (Christian, D. 2008).  Cohousing in Japan, Pt.II. [online]

Collaborative Design

Moreover, the best way to achieve this was through a collaborative design process, which consisted of 4 stages of negotiation. Pictured bellow.

  1. Meetings to discuss personal requirements between households and architects.
  2. Meetings about building technology between developer, architect and other professionals.
  3. Steering committee meetings between the developer and three random rotating households.
  4. Whole community meeting.
Kyodo

Figure 5: Infographic of collaborative design process ([Meltzer, G. 2005] original artist Tetsuro kai)

Similarly, to how many cohousing projects are run through consensus decision making, similar to Japanese corporate culture when a consensus cannot be made in a “predetermined timeframe, a secreted ballet was used to break a deadlock.” (Meltzer, 2005)

Sustainable features

A significant part of this cohousing development that reverberates with me are its connections to nature and sustainable features. Which I would like to take forward when I come to designing the co-housing aspect of the housing project. Those being passive solar heating and cooling, which have been a common trend in co-housing projects in modern times as both Lilac and Lancaster made use of it, furthermore, they used “solar powered water pumps and greywater treatment on a rooftop terrace.” (Christian, 2017)Kyodo Christian, D. (2017). “Forest” Cohousing in Japan | The Cohousing Association. [online] Cohousing.org. Available at: http://www.cohousing.org/forest-cohousing [Accessed 9 Apr. 2017].

Figure 6: Natural water irrigation (Christian, D. 2017). The Cohousing Association. [online]

 


References :

Christian, D. (2017). “Forest” Cohousing in Japan | The Cohousing Association. [online] Cohousing.org. Available at: http://www.cohousing.org/forest-cohousing [Accessed 9 Apr. 2017].

Meltzer, G. (2005). Sustainable community: learning from the cohousing model. 1st ed. Victoria, B.C.: Trafford, pp.107-112.

Schalk, M. (2014). The Architecture of Metabolism. Inventing a Culture of Resilience. 1st ed. [ebook] Stockholm, Sweden: Arts. Available at: http://www.mdpi.com/2076-0752/3/2/279/pdf [Accessed 9 Apr. 2017].

Image references:

Figure 1: Site plan of Kyodo no Mori Co-housing (Meltzer, 2005)

Figure 2: Building structure (Christian, D. 2017). The Cohousing Association. [online]

Figure 3: Concrete Structure and nature intertwining (Christian, D. 2008). Cohousing in Japan, Pt.II. [online]
Figure 4: Roof gardens and green space (Christian, D. 2008).  Cohousing in Japan, Pt.II. [online]Figure 5: Infographic of collaborative design process ([Meltzer, G. 2005] original artist Tetsuro kai)

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One response to “Kyodo No Mori Japanese Co-housing”

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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