Nendo’s Tunnel-Like Guesthouse Made From Culverts
27. September 2022
The Culvert Guesthouse is a storage facility for furniture, artworks, and other artifacts sitting in a thick pine forest in Japan's Nagano Prefecture. The design by Nendo is pure minimalism made with prefabricated concrete box culverts that are typically used in infrastructure projects.
While the combination of a construction method more often used with underground utilities and the display of high-priced artifacts seems more than unlikely, the results are stunning. Storing chairs, lamps, and the like rather than water or power lines, four long prestressed concrete "tunnels" comprise the aptly named Culvert Guesthouse. A large two-story spaces sits in the center, as defined by the four tunnels set in a "#" configuration.
Although the concrete tunnels appear monolithic, they are made from 63 precast sections, 12 tons each; they were sized for delivery to the site and the crane that lifted them into place. The relatively small pieces also indicate that disturbing the forested site as little as possible was an important consideration. In the end, Nendo describes the final result as "less architectural, but rather a project that combines civil engineering concepts with product design details."
Watch a 90-second film of the completed Culvert Guesthouse:
And watch a one-minute film of the Culvert Guesthouse's prefabrication and on-site assembly: