The Naoshima Plan 2019 "The Water" conveys Naoshima's abundance and beauty
A traditional, 200-year-old home in Honmura, Naoshima island. It used to be a post office for a long time. During the Setouchi Triennale 2019, this building will serve as a rest stop for visitors and islanders. Hiroshi Sambuichi was the architect who designed the renovated building. He has worked on The Naoshima Plan since 2011, a project spotlighting how residents used nature in their homes, village layout, and water gutters.
On Naoshima, Mr. Sambuichi has created "Cockpit for Wind and Water" in 2013, the multi-purpose facility "Naoshima Hall" in 2015, and a private residence called "Matabe." His fourth work on Naoshima is The Naoshima Plan 2019 "The Water." This work's theme is based on Naoshima's wind and groundwater system. It draws on Mr. Sambuichi's use of materials that "move" such as wind, water, and the sun.
"Naoshima's homes pass on the wind like a baton in a relay."
The first thing Mr. Sambuichi examined was the flow of the wind on Naoshima. When he surveyed homes in Honmura, a small village on Naoshima, he noticed some things in common in their layout. Honmura's traditional homes had a south-to-north continuous room. All the homes had a yard on the northern and southern sides. The homes were built in the same way and faced the wind in the same direction. At the study meeting for Naoshima residents, Mr. Sambuichi explained that these homes were designed to pass on the wind like in a relay.
"The wind flows through one home's continuous room. Then it flows through the next home, and the next. Like passing a baton in a relay race, they pass on the wind. Today's homes have air-conditioners that cool your own room and expels the hot air outside. That's why it gets hotter outside. The great thing about traditional homes in Honmura is that the wind does not stop at one home. It flows through the house and then continues to flow to the next house. The homes were designed to cool not just itself, but also its surroundings. The 1781 map of the Great Fire of Takadaura shows that Honmura's current village plan was established since the 1700s. However, from the late 1500s, talented architects and urban planners likely came up with ideas for this home building and village planning."
To reproduce Naoshima's "wind relay," The Naoshima Plan 2019 "The Water" removed excess structures and restored the traditional house-to-house wind relay from south to north. Also, a noren curtain will be hung on the home's southern and northern entrances. The noren curtains are made by texitile dye artist Yoko Kano who has been working on the "Noren Project" on Naoshima since 2001. The noren curtains will enable you to visually see the home's "wind relay."
"It is clear what the architects tried to convey 400 years ago."
Mr. Sambuichi says that on Naoshima, besides the wind, the groundwater system also has a "relay" system. There is a groundwater system under the entire Honmura village, and many traditional homes had their own wells. The well water was Honmura's joint community asset. Also, older island residents recall that even wells for non-drinking purposes were kept clean in the old days. Armed with such research, Mr. Sambuichi renovated the house so it could convey the value of Naoshima's water. The well continuously spews about two tons of water a day. The courtyard of The Naoshima Plan 2019 "The Water" has a shallow pool filled with water flowing from the well. Visitors can dip their hands or feet into the water and feel the pureness and coolness of Naoshima's water.
"Honmura's roads have water gutters neatly arranged to gather water. All traditional homes have a surrounding wall, a gate, and main house. According to a historian who did research, among the islands in the Seto Inland Sea, only Honmura on Naoshima has such homes with a basic layout of a gate and surrounding wall. Villages on other islands have a series of short roads from the port. While in Honmura, each home is like a grand residence. While studying Honmura's traditional townscape, I came to clearly understand what the architects 400 years ago were trying to convey. In Honmura, the cool winds blow from the south, and there is a clean groundwater system. I believe they are well worth passing on to the future generations for another 400 years."
The Naoshima Plan 2019 "The Water" will be open only during Setouchi Triennale 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day except Monday when it is closed. (Open if Monday is a national holiday, and closed the next day instead.) The Naoshima Plan 2019 "The Water" will be managed and staffed by Naoshima residents. You can therefore also chat with them about life on Naoshima.