Woven Wood Roof Brings The Forest Inside

Under the shelter of this very unique timber roof, the Home-for-All Playhouse in Fukushima’s Soma City offers children and families affected by the region’s earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster in 2011 a delightful community gathering space and place to play.

Sheltering the children from the sun, the striking timber lattice roof spans 16m in diameter and resembles a giant woven straw hat. The timber lattic is made from 20mm thick by 120mm wide slats of Japanese Larch. This wood was chosen for several important reasons. Firstly, as a locally indigenous wood it was a highly cost-effective material. Secondly, Japanese Larch is also lightweight and extremely pliable. This was highly important as it meant the strips of wood could be easily bent on site into the three-way interwoven wooden structure that makes up the signature roof.

The cross-laminated timber (CLT) columns that support the roof are designed to resemble trees and include 60mm thick wood veneer cut-outs of squirrels and owls sitting on ‘branches.’ As an indoor park concept, these playful details are intended to bring humorous forest elements to the children – even if they can’t play outside.

The playhouse is a project by Klein Dytham Architecture and Toyo Ito Architects in collaboration with Arup. Arup additionally offered pro-bono support to build the playhouse.

Soma City’s Home-for-All project has most recently been short listed in the Civic Buildings category at the World Architecture Festival (WAF) to be held November 4-6, 2015 in Singapore.

Good luck to this great project!