This translucent cabin by architects Kengo Kuma and Associates is an experimental house in Hokkaidō, Japan, designed to test the limits of architecture in cold climates.
Inspiration came from the traditional architecture of the indigenous Ainu, whose "Chise" style buildings clad with sedge or bamboo grass hold in the warmth of a central fireplace that is never allowed to burn out.
"The fundamental idea of Chise, 'house of the earth,' is to keep warming up the ground this way and retrieve the radiation heat generated from it," say the architects. The Experimental House was constructed around a coated larch frame and it has a thick layer of polyester insulation sandwiched between the polycarbonate cladding of the exterior and the glass-fibre fabric of the interior. This insulation was made using recycled plastic bottles and it allows light to pass into the house through the walls.
As the first experimental house completed for the Meme Meadows research facility, the building will be used by the environmental technology institute to test how different factors affect the thermal qualities of its construction.