Meme Experimental House

Meme Experimental House by Kengo Kuma

As winter approaches we turn to the Meme Experimental House by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma for inspiration. Meme is the first of a series of prototype houses for the Meme Meadows research facility in Hokkaido. The project is part of a long term study that looks at the way residential design solutions perform in extreme climatic conditions. Rather than follow the traditional modes of post and beam architecture in Japan, Kuma took cues from the dwelling typology of the indigenous Ainu chise house . . .

The chise was entirely enveloped with a thick layer of dried grass for thermal insulation, and flooring mats lay directly on the ground to hold in the warmth of a central, ever-burning fireplace. The constructive and performative principle of Meme is based on the layering of materials.

The sustainable house’s larch timber frame is wrapped in a polyester fluorocarbon coating that acts as exterior cladding, and the inner walls are lined with a removable fibreglass cloth membrane. In between, recycled PET bottles provide thermal insulation and a transparent medium for natural light to penetrate during the day, alleviating the need to install a lighting system. The goal of this composition is to circulate heat mass generated by the central fireplace to keep the internal environment stable and comfortable.

Apart from being a radical proposal of the future, we love the Meme Experimental House for its open, minimalistic detail and ingenious use of sustainable materials.