07 | GC Prostho Museum Research Center | Kengo Kuma

The wooden structure of the GC Prostho Museum was developed through the study of a children’s toy called a chidori that originated centuries ago in the city of Hida-Takayama (36°9’30”N, 13°714’41”E). The toy is a three-dimensional puzzle composed of notched sticks of wood that fit together to form a small structure without the use of adhesives or fasteners. This type of joinery is a common trait of traditional Japanese woodworking at all scales, from small furniture and accessories to temples and other prominent structures.

The chidori system used in the GC Prostho Museum required modifications to work at such a large scale. The cross section of the members had to be proportionally increased to ensure structural soundness. Structural testing was performed throughout the process and the result was a final member cross section of 60 x 60 millimeters [2.4 x 2.4 inches]. The increase in scale also required an attention to precision not necessarily required in the fabrication of the toy. Each hand-made piece had to be fashioned precisely to ensure that the structural quality of the joints would be satisfied.


Image | © Chad Schwartz