ISSUE 97  |  Autumn in Japan

A Cafe That Celebrates Cedar

November 06, 2013 4:00 PM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

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Asked by his client to convert a former cedar storage warehouse in the city of Gojo, in Nara, Japan, into a cafe, architect Yoshihiro Yamamoto responded by unveiling the structure. He removed all of the decorative features and artificial materials acquired over the years, and stripped the building down to its framework, which happened to be made of cedar, a traditional Japanese building material. With a limited budget, he then designed simple storage and kitchen elements for what is now the Hapshuu Cake & Café. We’d like to visit—and to apply his approach to our own quarters.

Photography by Yohei Sasakura via Archilovers.

Above: Bold graphics and an entry with minimalist detailing update what had been a storage warehouse.

Above: A new kitchen and workspace made out of natural materials work well with the cedar surroundings. 

Above: The lofty space features counters built from concrete that echo the building’s exposed concrete block base. Unobtrusive wooden shelves provide storage.

Above: A bookshelf and open cabinets hold neatly stacked plates, glasses, and trays.

Above: To contrast with the warmth of the wood, Yamamoto introduced simple black metal railings on the mezzanine and stair. 

Above: The newly inserted stair and mezzanine are also made of cedar. 

Above: The exposed rafters and beams of the mezzanine level offer a full view of the cedar wood construction. 

Above: The mezzanine is lit by ample windows, include a pair under the eaves, 

Above: Black and white graphics harmonize with the weathered cedar.

The location of Hapshuu Cake & Cafe in Gojo in the Nara Prefecture of Japan.

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