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Kobayashi laboratory, koblab, pursues to revitalize and enforce communities and to create new value in the environment involved in communication-based social, cultural, and spatial design stemming from the micro-culture of an area and the traits that compose its rich sense of place in local society.

— Architecture and urban design has clear impacts on the community, so we strive to comprehend how form affects people’s lives. If communities are not well understood, formal interventions will not respond to the needs of the people and, therefore, they will not complement the area. We try to understand what notions of people and culture create an effective design methodology and what kinds of form create positive outcomes. We try to visualize the invisible character of communities and translate that character into form through our various projects.— We execute a broad range of projects that goes beyond traditional architectural design and construction to pursue design-build methods based on the tectonics of architecture and an understanding of the social role of architecture. We explore effective ways to contribute to society and create new social capital by shaping the form and plan of communities and planning for the future of their living environment.

— In each project we visit the actual site at the right moment and closely observe the place and its people, accept actual problems agilely, and respond to the situation at the site by using a positive, analytical and creative design methodology. This process makes students commit to the problems of the community and embody them by themselves, which feeds them for the next challenge of solving the problems.

— In academic year 2016, we are engaged in the Veneer House project( / and the Congo Acadex School project in which architectural design and construction is executed with self-build method in devastated or outlying area, Tane rural revitalization project in Shiga prefecture through reforming an old folk house and supporting and cultivating young people, the Nihonbashi urban renewal project based on communication with local 
community, and the SBC (Student Build Campus) project in which students, professors, staffs, and graduates work together to create a new residential education. — We keep on executing real projects in society and acting with responsibility to be able to commit to the actual problems of the society closely and realistically.





“Tane Project”

Since 2007, we have been proceeding “Tane Project” in Shiga Prefecture. Tane is a region in which the traditional Japanese landscape is preserved, with abundant nature and old folk houses shaping its villages. On the other hand, this region suffers from depopulation, aging population, aging population, diminishing industry, increasing number of vacant houses, and damages caused by wild animals. 

Project Base U House

Renovated bath using a soy sauce barrel (2017)

Our aim is to revitalize the community by utilizing the resources in this area such as traditional folk houses, local timber, and the local residents. In the past, we have held workshops for local people to think about the future of Tane, constructed a social welfare facility, printed a booklet for introducing Tane, renovated a folk house, planned tours of the region for non-local visitors, and designed a video and webpage for the local elementary school.

Refurbished mud-plastered walls (2018)

This year we are mainly focusing on constructing a “Vacant House Network System” to build a system in which each house can be used for different purposes and phases of users. 

(Tane Project Webpage:



“Nihonbashi Project”

The Nihonbashi Project expanded its research area to Chuo-ku this semester and raised a problem of that the tourist spots such as Nihonbashi, Ginza and Tsukiji are considered psychologically as separate spots for sightseeing. We formed hypothesize, which connecting those areas by using bicycles and connect those area is an effective solution.  Those sightseeing spots are within 2km centering Tokyo Station. The problem is the transportation system in this area; it is close if you use the subway, but is far to walk. The issue is how we solve this problem. We believe that people can enjoy the changes of scenery, and visit those areas thoroughly if people use bicycles, and they can discover the true attraction of those areas.  


“Rifu Project”

The Purpose of this project is to activate the town through design of 4km road for Olympic games. Rifu Town in Miyagi Prefecture has the stadium that Olympic soccer games will be held in. The town is a small bed town where 3.5million people live in. Now, Rifu Town can not attract people who come to Olympic games because they will stay in big city of Miyagi, Sendai. Therefore Rifu Town gets only a small economic impact even if there is Olympic site in town.

Analysis of Rifu Town

For this town, our lab is going to use the veneer house system and design the whole 4km road with a small cost so that can have good effect to town even after the Olympic games. By this way, we are trying to attract more people and activate the town.

Trial in KIRIN CUP (Icon)


Trial in KIRIN CUP (Food Stall)


“Nakameguro COVLAB Project”

In the Nakameguro project, we built a workspace named COVLAB (Collaborative Open Veneer Laboratory) following the theme of “creating a place for communication through designing and building”. The CNC router in COVLAB makes the carving of plywood into any desired shape possible. Besides creating mockups for concepts created in koblab, we aim to let the lab to surrounding creators in Nakameguro and involve them in designing and building projects.

COVLAB outside

CNC router

Communication through design and building


“Koblab-Indonesia Project”

After the devastating Tsunami hit Indonesia, more specifically Banten in the end of 2018, the people of Pandeglang need permanent housing and community facilities in their own neighborhood. We have submitted a model house proposal for a permanent residence to the local government for their consideration. This design/build workshop and proposal-making will be a valuable learning process on how to respond to unpredictable events based on the indigenous building culture and to exchange ideas for better living between participants from different backgrounds.

Permanent house proposal drawings

Four-unit houses and the perspective view

The other project related to Indonesia involves the making of a community center in Palu, Indonesia. This project is part of the Veneer House Project, which has been developed as a response to the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. For the tsunami affected area in Indonesia, we plan to design and construct a meeting facility for the community, namely Wani Dua village. By applying the construction method of veneer house developed in Japan and other affected areas, we are collaborating with local universities, association of architects, local NPOs, etc., and plan to travel and build from mid-August to mid-September this year. We hope that this project will promote the sharing of architectural techniques and cultural exchange between Japan and Indonesia. We are also considering expanding this result to other Asian regions in the future.

One of the building sites in Palu, Sulawesi Island.

Perspective view of the community center (planned)

Drawings of the community center (planned)




従来の建築の設計や施工の方法論の先を見据え、建築が果たす社会的役割りを理解し、社会の問題解決に貢献できるデザイン・ビルドの世界を模索する建築のテクトニックに根ざしたプロジェクトから、社会のコミュニティの形態とその形に注目し、将来のあるべきまちの姿を構想するソーシャルキャピタルを構想するプロジェクトまでを横断する幅広いプロジェクトに取組んでいる。 各プロジェクトでは、自らの身体を使って能動的に分析・解決・創作するデザイン手法によって、適切なタイミングで現地に赴き、土地や人をよく知り、柔軟な態度をもって問題を受け入れ、その場で求められる対応に的確に応えようとしていく。この過程を通して問題を自分のこととして身体化し、次の問題解決のための糧としていく。

被災地や遠隔地でセルフビルドによる建築設計・施工を行うベニアハウスプロジェクト(やコンゴ・アカデックスプロジェクト、古民家改修や若者育成を通して地方再生を目指す滋賀県田根プロジェクト、コミュニティとの対話に基づく都心のまちづくりを行う日本橋プロジェクト、学生・教職員・卒業生が一体となって新しい滞在型教育を創造するSBC (Student Build Campus) プロジェクトを行っている。 これからも実社会におけるリアルなプロジェクトを通し、自らが自らと社会との関係を より近く現実味を持って感じ責任をもって介入していくことを目指してアクションを起こしていきたい。








醤油樽を活用し改修したお風呂 (2017)





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中目黒プロジェクトでは「デザイン・ビルドを通したコミュニケーションの場づくり」をテーマに、中目黒にCOVLAB (Collaborative Open Veneer Laboratory)というワークスペースを設置しました。COVLABにはCNCルーターが設置してあり、ベニア合板を思い通りに切り出すことが可能になっています。KobLabで設計した作品のモックアップを作るのはもちろん、中目黒周辺で活動するクリエイターに貸し出しを行い、周辺の人々を巻き込んだデザインビルドを目指しています。













  • Shiga Tane Folk House Restauration (Bedroom) 2016
    滋賀県田根地区 古民家再生(寝室)2016

  • Shiga Tane Folk House Restauration (Bedroom) 2017
    滋賀県田根地区 古民家再生(風呂場)2017

  • Slovenia Slovenj Gradec Veneer Community Pavilion 2017
    スロベニア スロベン・グラデッツ ベニアコミュニティハウス 2017

  • Congo Kimbondo Acadex Elementary School Infirmary 2016
    コンゴ キンポンド アカデックス小学校保健室 2016

  • ongo Kimbondo Acadex Elementary School Workshop 2016
    コンゴ キンポンド アカデックス小学校ワークショップ 2016

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