R Torso C: Japanese Minimalist Home Built Out of Volcanic Ash

japanese man standing

Natural disasters are setbacks in life that are inevitable. Due to its destructive tendencies, a volcanic eruption is one of the natural disasters that are hard to cope up with. But who would have thought that these destructive after-effects can be made into something innovating?

A group of Japanese Architects called Atelier Tekuto successfully made a home out of volcanic ash. These volcanic ashes are turned into recyclable material called Shirasu. Instead of sand, Shirasu is composed of a deposit of the pyroclastic flow- a natural resource found in abundance in the south of Japan’s Kyushu island.

“River sand is scarce in Japan, while the use of sea sand in construction is on the verge of being banned,” says Atelier Tekuto’s principal Yasuhiro Yamashita. “Shirasu concrete can bring big economic benefits to the region.”
japanese concrete building
An ill-shaped, sharp-edged Japanese house design. Photo courtesy of Jérémie Souteyrat

R · torso · C is a minimalist residence in Tokyo. Situating a site area of 711sq ft, the home extends vertically to be able to maximize the space while having a triangular window opening serving as a skylight. Looking to have an exposed concrete for both interior and exterior, the house aimed to utilize natural materials and the natural environment as basic design approach.

''We want to see exposed concrete finish inside and out. A distinctive piece of architecture that is at the same time environmentally conscious,'' said clients to the designer of Tekuto.
japanese lady outside home

The architectural structure of the residential area in Tokyo is actually to build towards the “sky”. R · torso · C directions with a true feeling of the vastness of nature.

To form a strong connection with the sky, the corner of a rectangular building was pruned away at an angle. This action, cutting away the internal volume, paradoxically creates a sense of spaciousness in the continuous four-story space inside. To secure a comfortable interior climate, a “thermal circulation system” was incorporated in collaboration with an environmental engineer.

One of the advantages of using Shirasu concrete is its increased strength and durability over a long period of time due to its pozzolanic reaction.


The aim of the project is to craft solutions that will alleviate challenges in living at urban places.

The family house is a transition from the planimetric cognition to the cross-sectional cogitation. For architecture on a small site, sectional and volumetric design becomes very important. A high-level sound-insulated audiovisual room in the basement, and a spacious gallery and a Japanese room is placed on the first floor.

Functionality was prioritized on the second floor with a living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. The living room is a very small space, but a 5m high ceiling and a large oblique triangular window, drawing in an abundance of external light, results in a cognition of spaciousness that is far greater than the reality.

“The living room is a very small space, but a 5-meter-high ceiling and a large oblique triangular window drawing in an abundance of external light results in cognition that is far greater than the reality,” said the architects.

japanese woman standing

Natural disasters can be devasting but at the same time we can always bounce back out of it like this concrete home. The R · torso · C project is the perfect example that there is beauty even in the ruins.

Are you feeling that inner Zen in you and itching to renovate your place based on these Japanese concrete home? Tokyo Grand Renovation (TGR) is eager to help you discuss your Japanese style interior design cravings. Conveniently located in the leading business district in Metro Manila, TGR’s headquarters is at 9110 La Campana St. cor. Trabajo St., Brgy. Olympia, Makati City, 1207.

For inquiries, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 832 16 76, or send an e-mail at  info@tgr.com.ph.

TGRはマカティの高級インテリアデザイン、リノベーション、会社です。TGRは 住宅および商業 スペースの為のデザインと建築を提供 し ております。お問い合わせは 、02832 1676 にお電話いただくか、 電子メール info@tgr.com.ph へ送信 お願いします。


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