Tokyo-based firm Tono Mirai Architects recently completed a sustainable project named after a dumpling.
The project is called Oyaki Farm, which is a sustainable agricultural facility located just outside the city of Nagano. It comprises a cafe, a store, and various spaces to produce a local culinary specialty called oyaki, which is essentially a dumpling made with wheat or buckwheat flour, stuffed with seasoned vegetables like eggplant, mushroom or pickles, or some form of protein, and then baked or grilled. It’s known as one of the region’s comfort foods and dates back to the ancient Jomon period of prehistoric times (14,500 to 300 BCE).
Like its namesake, the project takes on a rounded form, derived from two circles that represent the interlocking relationships between this oyaki “factory” and the landscape, as well as the dialogue between the cafe and the larger community in which it sits.
The building is constructed using rammed earth and wood, both of which are natural and locally sourced materials. The rammed earth walls not only provide thermal insulation but also serve as a natural humidity regulator, which is important for maintaining optimal conditions for crops. The use of wood in the construction also provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere for the workers and visitors.
The building is designed to be self-sufficient, with solar panels providing electricity and rainwater collection and storage system supplying water. The facility includes a greenhouse for growing crops, a processing area for packaging and storing produce, and a communal space for workers and visitors. The project aims to promote sustainable agriculture and raise awareness of the benefits of locally sourced materials and self-sufficient design.
Photos by: Takeshi Noguchi
Article by:Kimberley Mok
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