The pioneering computational architecture of Shoei Yoh: A study of the avant garde timber space frame structures of Oguni, Kumamoto

Scott Hawken, Masaaki Iwamoto

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Abstract

    This paper discusses the birth of both large-span timber structures and computational design in Japan through the examination of a series of cutting-edge projects designed by Japanese Architect Shoei Yoh in the 1980s. Although Shoei Yoh (1940–) has achieved limited appreciation as an innovator of large span timber structures in Japan and for computational design within the international computational design community, a wider appreciation of his significant legacy has been largely missing. This paper uses field visits, in depth interviews and a newly developing archive of his work to examine the underappreciated legacy of this avant-garde architect. The distinct oeuvre and innovations of Shoei Yoh emerged in the town of Oguni in Kyushu, Japan, which is famous for its cedar industry and forests. Through close collaboration with local politicians and industry, Yoh addressed the need for economical and functional building methods that were radical for their time and predated the event of large-scale timber construction and computational design by more than two decades. The local cultural context of Oguni was fertile ground for Yoh’s design innovation and this is evident from timber projects which include: 1.) the Music Atelier 2.) the Oguni Dome. Through collaborations, Yoh developed technical solutions to realize large three-dimensional timber space trusses utilising new joints and other innovations as in the Oguni Dome. These new forms and technologies were made possible through the pioneering use of computational programming.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication16th International Docomomo Conference Tokyo Japan 2020+1 Proceedings - Inheritable Resilience
    Subtitle of host publicationSharing Values of Global Modernities
    EditorsAna Tostoes, Yoshiyuki Yamana
    PublisherDocomomo
    Pages626-631
    Number of pages6
    ISBN (Electronic)9784904700761
    Publication statusPublished - 2021
    Event16th International Docomomo Conference Tokyo Japan 2020+1 - Tokyo, Japan
    Duration: Aug 29 2021Sep 2 2021

    Publication series

    NameInheritable Resilience: Sharing Values of Global Modernities - 16th International Docomomo Conference Tokyo Japan 2020+1 Proceedings
    Volume2

    Conference

    Conference16th International Docomomo Conference Tokyo Japan 2020+1
    Country/TerritoryJapan
    CityTokyo
    Period8/29/219/2/21

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Civil and Structural Engineering
    • Building and Construction
    • Architecture
    • Urban Studies

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