Painting Ishigami – KAIT workshop

Junya Ishigami is one of the more recent Japanese architects I have come to know in the past year.  I enjoyed reading through Another Scale of Architecture and remember how it didn’t feature fancy renders or such but really the essence of Ishigami’s approach which pushes the boundaries of lightness and scale. He is very much inspired by nature and natural phenomena such as clouds, and much of his work is experimental with KAIT being no exception. In the last week before I left Japan I visited KAIT workshop in Kanagawa Institute of Technology with a family friend who is a student at KAIT. Apart from the building I was equally impressed to learn about the story behind KAIT and the program they run at this workshop. True to it’s name, KAIT is literally a workshop where students (no matter what degree) are able to come in and work on projects of their choice. On their flyer the goal of the KAIT-KOUBOU is described as, “established to realize the hope and dream of making creative goods freely.” Therefore it is not part of the curriculum at the University, but students like my family friend are able to come after class and during weekends to make whatever they fancy. ..and they can use all the facilities for FREE.  Japan you never fail to impress me!


So we made use of this opportunity to paint some ceramic plates. We originally planned to take full on pottery lessons but learnt that in order to make and fire one piece requires at least 3 lessons, but I was only available that day. The workshop guy was real nice and suggested that for our limited time we could just paint and fire instead, and he will post them to us after he glazes them.  It was still enjoyable as ever to work in such a brightly lit up and open space. Enjoy photos of this beautiful building as follows!

KAIT approach
The approach
View towards entrance
View towards entrance
View after just entering glass doors
View after just entering glass doors
Giant airplane hovers above
Worktables fit into a forest of columns
Transparent glass facade blur boundary between interior and exterior
View from my work table while painting
Ishigami designed furniture, so so thin
Light weight roof with slits for natural light
Everything is white apart from the wooden work tables
Everything is white apart from the wooden work tables
Students work, apparently a high school student did this, they have programs for the community too
table detail
Column detail, each one is unique
Pottery and ceramics area

Facts and Figures:

  • The concept for the KAIT workshop is to “make creative goods in the woods”
  • Hence there are no walls, instead the 2000m2 open space is supported by a forest of 305 pillars – 42 thick ones to support the weight of the roof and 263 thin ones to counter lateral loads
  • Pillars are all unique, with the section determined according to structural calculations
  • Thick pillars range from 55 – 62mm with a pin connection between the pillar and beam which frees it from side stress
  • Thin pillars are 16 – 45mm and are welded between the pillar and beam
  • The roof is actually sloped at 1/75 and in a diamond shape to help with compression
  • There are 20 air conditioning units
  • Facilities are split into sections: pottery, metal works, laser cutting, circuits, wood work, casting and printing
  • There are 6 staff and 6 student staff, you can ask them for help at any time
  • Open from Monday – Saturday 10am – 9pm on weekdays

5 responses to “Painting Ishigami – KAIT workshop

  1. do you know how the space functions thermally? was it comfortable when you were there (which season was it, btw)? I love the concept but I’d also love a working occupiable space!

  2. Hi, is it difficult to enter this place without having any internal connection [friend or people that study there]?. I mean do you think ordinary people can just visit there and ask for permission to enter directly without having permission letter in advance? thanks

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