Named Culvert Guesthouse, the archive and residence was constructed from four tunnel-like forms that were stacked on top of each other.
Designed by the studio as its own archive, the distinctive-shaped building is located in dense woodland on the edge of the town of Miyota in Nagano Prefecture.
Its elongated concrete forms were built from prefabricated concrete box culverts, which are more commonly used to enclose utilities such as water and power underground.
The main archive space was placed in a 40-metre-long tunnel that has glass windows at each end.
Placed parallel to this space, another tunnel-like form contains the guesthouse’s kitchen and toilets, with the roofed area between acting as a seating area.
Stacked on these two tunnel-like spaces, a further two prestressed box culverts contain a bedroom and secondary archive with a study space.
All of the concrete elements were painted white to give the archive and guest house a minimalist appearance.
As the building was built from precast concrete elements, all of the interior spaces measure two metres by 2.3 metres.
The internal spaces are also largely white and contain minimal amounts of in-built furniture.
In total 63 concrete sections, each weighing around 12 tons, were used to construct the archive.
“The space is less architectural, but rather a project that combines civil engineering concepts with product design details,” said the studio.
A fifth concrete tube was placed next to the main archive building to hold additional storage space and Nendo expects to expand the facility in the future.
Founded in 2005 by chief designer Oki Sato, the multidisciplinary studio previously designed a showroom in Milan for Italian marble brand Marsotto, but is better known as a prolific designer of products.
Recent designs by the studio, which is known for working on up to 400 projects at once, include paper soap dispensers that look like milk cartons and an overhaul of Japan Airlines’ in-flight amenities.
Dezeen recently rounded up 10 household items, from bonsai trees to piggy banks and umbrella stands, designed by the studio.
The photography is by Daici Ano, Takumi Ota and Toru Shiomi.
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