700 reused windows represent collective journey towards sustainability

Designed by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP, the Kamikatsu Zero Waste Center is an architecture that reduces material waste to zero.

The story of the Kamikatsu Zero Waste Center is first and foremost that of a community process towards efficient and sustainable waste management. A few years ago, the village of Kamikatsu, in southern Japan, had to implement a very complex waste management system due to the fact that its incinerator produced too much dioxin. The local community now separates its waste into 45 categories, with a recycling rate of over 80%. The new centre was built primarily to help achieve 100% recycled waste.

The new architecture, designed by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP, also aims to represent this collective effort and communicate it to the public. For this purpose it also includes a large public hall, a shop selling recycled items, an activity space and a hotel.

Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP, Kamikatsu Zero Waste Center, Tokushima, Japan, 2021
Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP, Kamikatsu Zero Waste Center, Tokushima, Japan, 2021

The Kamikatsu Zero Waste Center is a recycled and recyclable piece of architecture, which can be resized in the future according to the needs of the citizens. The most representative element of the building is undoubtedly the facade, made up of 700 different windows. The frames donated by the community were repaired, measured and positioned using software, creating a seemingly random but precise patchwork that has great visual impact.

Cedar wood was used for the structure, a quality found in abundance in the area that offers the possibility of minimising the costs – economic and environmental – of production and transport. The trunks of the trees are not processed to minimise waste of materials.

All the building’s components are designed with circularity in mind: bricks, tiles, wooden floors and fabrics were donated by local companies; the furniture was recovered from public buildings and abandoned houses; a large bookcase is made from the crates used to collect shiitake mushrooms.

Kamikatsu Zero Waste Center
Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP
Tokushima, Japan
Recycling center
Structural engineering:
Yamada Noriaki Structural Design Office
Kitajima Corporation
1,176 sqm

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