Sumika Pavilion at Utsunomiya, Japan, by Toyo Ito

Architecture & Interiors

Tokyo Gas invited four Japanese architects to design the house of the future. The project, known as Sumika, is produced under the direction of Toyo Ito – one of the four houses is designed by him and will serve as a space for display for the whole project and future initiatives by Tokyo Gas.


The pavilion strongly resembles his temporary construction for the Serpentine Gallery back in 2002 – only that pavilion was made of steel. Instead this one is made out of wood, softening the Serpentine central idea without missing out its ideas of skin and structure and the juxtaposition of void and solid. Impeccably constructed timber joints conceal an internal armature of steel rods. The four irregularly positioned columns support the flat roof, resulting in a marvelous display of non-linear geometry.


Sumika means living or habitat in Japanese. Ito said that the pavilion was designed as a space among trees for people to gather together as they do in Japan under the cherry blossoms in spring time. The visitors of the pavilion will experience this feeling when they enter the dwelling, with its three skylights around each column flooding it with sunlight. The resulting light and shadow play reminds one of sunshine through leaves of a tree.


The hexagons of the casing were designed with angles of 60, 90 and 120 degrees and are reinforced with steel rods and epoxy resin. The use of neutral white combined with the light wood frame and the transparent glass panes create a serene atmosphere, much in contrast to the surrounding industrial area.


Location Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan

Period 2004.4 – 2007.2

Structure wood frame

Scale 1 story

Site Area 6522m2

Building Area 81m2

Total Floor Area 81m2


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  1. Stratos Bacalis

    Sep 11, 2009 at 6:31 am

    @Furniture: if you read the post carefully you will see that it was not designed to be a home but the information and exhibition centre of the project. The other three dwellings of the project are much more home-like.

  2. Kocmoc

    Sep 14, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Interesting design. I like to use wood to build homes. It always makes the house very comfortable.
    I apologize for the grammar, I use a translator.

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