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Hoto Fudo by Takeshi Hosaka Architects, Fuji Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan

Emerging Architecture Awards 2010: Highly Commended

With the stunning backdrop of Mount Fuji, Hoto Fudo is a Japanese noodle bar like no other. Developed in collaboration with engineer Arup, the form comprises four continuous hemispheres likened by its architects to both mountains and clouds. Described as a ‘sandwich reinforced-concrete shell’, the building takes on the character of four conjoined igloos, which combine to withstand heavy snow and seismic activity.

The skin consists of a 100mm-thick reinforced concrete structure sandwiched between a 60mm hard urethane layer for heat insulation and a 15mm outer coat of glass fibre reinforced concrete, applied to prevent cracking. To minimise formwork, reduce time spent bending reinforcement bars and improve on-site tolerances, a truss wall system of prefabricated formwork was adopted with approximately 200 units of preformed rebar transported from factory to site.

The four forms, which sit on a buried ring beam, combine to ensure thermal comfort throughout the year, with the large area of exposed thermal mass helping to stabilise the internal temperature. With no air conditioning, the space is essentially open to the elements during most of the year, with curved acrylic sliding doors deployed in the winter months, or when wind speeds rise beyond a reasonable level.

Otherwise, when the weather is wet, rain enters in and when it is foggy, a mist hangs in the space, providing a unique setting for nature lovers to enjoy healthy traditional food while catching glimpses of Japan’s most cherished mountain, captured through one of the building’s low-lying openings.

Architect Takeshi Hosaka Architects, Yokohama, Japan
Structural engineer Ove Arup & Partners Japan/Hitoshi Yonamine
Services engineer Ove Arup & Partners Japan/Jin Matsumoto
Photographs Koji Fujii/Nacasa & Partners

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