Comparing the Coeda House, designed by Kengo Kuma and Associates and built in Shizuoka prefecture Atami city, to a stacking game is probably a little unfair, but after seeing the photos, you’re left so awestruck that you’re at a loss for words. The only other thought that comes to mind is, “How is that even possible?”
The architect describes the house has having a “huge tree-like architecture,” and that’s probably a better description. In fact, one of the photos, taken at night from a distance and with the interior lighting on, really does look like fabled Tree of Life. How exactly Kuma put the house together is an impressive mystery. The calculations necessary to make sure the weight was distributed had to have been mindboggling. Throw in Japan’s propensity for earthquakes, and that math becomes even more complex. But unlike Jenga, where the blocks will fall at the slightest jostling, this house is able “to suppress the shaking at the time of an earthquake.”
The Coeda House sits atop a cliff—another amazing aspect of the house in regard to earthquake proofing—that overlooks the Pacific. And because the house is solely supported by its central beam, the walls are entirely glass, which means uninhibited views of the spectacular scenery. That pillar is made of 8 cm square cedar blocks that have combined with a carbon fiber, resulting in a material with seven times the tensile strength of iron.