Location: Aso, Kumamoto

    Year: 2015 Spring

    Area: 904.2 Sqm

    Contractor: D.BRAIN

    Status: Completed

    Photo: Hideki Makiguchi

    Text: Naoki Kotaka

  • The brewery is situated on 40 hectares of prime rural land in the foot of Mount Aso. Our client, the renowned Japanese brewing and distilling company, Suntory recognized the potential of this terroir for sampling quality natural water in comparison to numerous other springs. Centered around a core belief in social contribution and environmental sustainability, Suntory initiated a wide variety of activities around the brewery including an extensive public programme for locals and visitors, as well as a long term forestry development scheme, encouraging the company to benefit from the idyllic surroundings and to integrate with the local community. In 2014 Suntory commissioned DAIKEI MILLS to remodel on-site restaurant aiming to create a destination for experiencing the local gastronomy and the remarkable Aso landscape. The pre-existing site consists of three adjoining buildings; two wings with pitched roofs each housing the restaurant room and the tank room, connected by the elongated bar room. The vertical louvers handles carefully but honestly the junctions between new and existing exterior walls with clarity between old and new. 

    They are built out of locally sourced Japanese cedar – approximately 20cm-wide timber strips that are offset from exterior walls – merging coherently the building with the agricultural background. The red-ochre slab appears like an erratic rise of volcanic land forming the front yard at the west end of the bar room. The slab penetrates through a fully openable glazed facade and upheaves seamlessly to form a monolithic 13m-long bar counter. The extraordinary color of concrete is derived from locally sourced earth; a deep earthen red that has a powerful primeval quality. The ASO is a restaurant/bar in ‘resonance’; a wild ensemble of built fabric, the mountain landscape, its geological substance and its natural power, offering a unique architectural narrative of the surrounding nature.