The Kominka Collective gives Japanese folk houses and traditional wood, ceramic, stone, and paper materials a second life in the United States
Kominka: Japanese Folk Houses
The word kominka refers to houses built at least 60 years ago and in particular to those built before the Taisho Period. These structures are characterized by traditional Japanese timber framing using broad beams and posts, ceramic tiled roofs, and a rustic yet elegant beauty.
Japanese timber framing, used for wooden construction in temples, shrines, and folk houses, has many advantages, including strength, durability, and maintainability - as well as its elegant appearance.
Komika were constructed with high-quality local wood, including zelkova, sakura, chestnut, and cypress. The naturally dried old beams and posts in these old houses are stronger and last longer than the wood used in modern structures as wood gains in strength for 200–300 years after being cut. The all-wood joints used in traditional Japanese building also become stronger as the wood ages.
The Kominka Collective
Toda Komuten, a longtime advocate for folk house preservation, and Zen House formed the Kominka Cooperative to bring traditional Japanese folk houses and reclaimed materials to the United States to provide people outside Japan opportunities to live with and enjoy traditional Japanese architecture and to give these beautiful houses and materials a second life.
The Kominka Collective disassembles old Japanese folk houses which are scheduled to be demolished and rebuilds them for use as homes, studios, home offices, and shops, preserving their minimalist aesthetic while modernizing their energy efficiency. We also incorporate materials from these old houses in new or existing structures and landscapes, as well as using them to create one-of-a-kind furnishings.
The Japanese Folk House Reconstruction Association
We work with and support the aims of the Japanese Folk House Reconstruction Association, which collaborates with local and national government to promote the preservation and reconstruction of kominka for the sake of future generations.