Kengo Kuma and Associates with its team has often used wood at its best while designing some of the most beautiful projects such as Odunpazari Museum or The Exchange in Sydney. Having the opportunity to interview Yuki Ikeguchi Partner, Executive Vice President of the Kengo Kuma and Associates, Wood and Panel Europe got the scope of knowing more about the projects.
What is the main inspiration that encourages you to choose ‘Wood’?
The timber was a natural choice for the museum in symbolic manner, to celebrate the memory of the city that used to function as market for timber. The name of the city “Odunpazari” means Market for wood.
Wood is considered one of the crucial raw materials used for designing versatile projects and products – How do you see the possibilities with this extremely versatile product for establishing such outstanding projects?
The timber is the unique natural material that works for structure, cladding, further down to small elements. It gives warmth and conforms in space. In OMM, we explore the full range to create the museum that is welcoming.
Chosen projects like The Exchange in Sydney and The Odunpazari Modern Art Museum are perfect examples of Timber/Lumber construction. How do ‘wood’ and modern architecture perfectly blend in to form such magnificent structures?
The timber architecture can create far more attractive, comfortable urban space that promotes active public scene. I believe there has been a positive trend to build with timber as we, architects, the city and building industries are more aware of our responsibility to consider sustainable environment.
Set up among the urban buildings The Exchange in Sydney is a fine piece of art. How has the use of ‘Wood’ enhanced the trendy design of the establishment?
It was designed to be playful and dynamic, almost to the primitive sense, as a wood nest, for multiple public programs to serve the surrounding residences in high rise tower. We treated the building as a part of landscape rather than surrounding buildings.
What is your view about the increasing market value of timber construction?
Timber is the best possible materials for architecture, but scarcity and rise of the value is quite concerning. In current projects we test the ideas of the hybrid structure, for instance with steel, so to optimize the volume and quantity of wood in more efficient manner. The development of sustainable sourcing and manufacturing of other building materials is expected so to work efficiently in balance with use of timber.