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    Curving LVL roof and steel portal frame creates spacious, light-filled Japanese kindy

    Nathan Johnson

    A new child care centre located in the Japanese Prefecture of Yamanashi showcases the capability of timber construction when combined with Japanese craftsmanship.

    Designed by local architects, Takashige Yamashita Office, the Toranoko Nursery is a new community space situated in the middle of three elderly facilities located on the same site.

    The building was developed by the owner of the elderly facilities and comprises a lounge area for visitors to have tea, and a nursery to take care of the children in the local area.

    A garden, lounge, lunchroom, nursing room and office are housed within and around a number of striking roof forms, positioned at various angles to provide openings for visual and physical access on all elevations.

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    A H-100x100 steel portal frame footed by reinforced concrete forms the building’s walls and loading structure, while the floors are predominantly a low-lying bearer and joist system topped with light-coloured floorboards.  

    The sweeping roof forms are made from 50x50mm LVL rafters sandwiched between two outer layers of 9mm structural plywood. A standing seam zinc wraps the outer layer of the roof, which (surprisingly) has only two gutter systems situated in the roof valleys at the centre of the building.

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    The architects say that this roofing system allows for large spans of up to 10 metres at just 86mm thickness, and just as well because the Toranoko Nursery’s large central curve spans a touch over nine metres.

    The building reportedly has spectacular views of Mt. Fuji and is enjoyed equally by children, their parents and the elderly—“there is a place for everyone under the roof”.

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    Photography by Kenichi Suzuki

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