"Kokage" means shade of a tree. Hirokazu Suemitsu and Yoko Suemitsu of SUEP have designed a house built from structural partitions that spread out like a tree to carry a canopy that acts as the roof. Each "tree" also is part of the mechanical system of the house, carrying cool water from the ground up to the top.
The system is unusual, circulating underground water that is 15 celsius through panels mounted on the trees. There is no moving air other than convection.
"Although a normal air conditioning with cooled air makes discomfort with temperature variation and air draft, this radiation wall works good for human health without any air draft. As there is no necessity to care about air proof, this wall can works under open air condition"
-which we take to mean that since there is no ductwork and moving air (and not much cost of cooling as you are just pumping water) you don't have to seal the house up so tightly.
Interior. The house is a modest 1372 square feet in Abiko, Chiba.
There is a lot about the the house that reminds me of George Nelson's Cube Prefab of the early sixties.
An interesting idea for combining mechanicals with structure, and putting a house together out of "tree units." More at What We Do Is Secret. Photography by Koichi Torimura
More Prefab in Japan:
Prefab Renovation by Koji Asako
Toyota Cranking Out More Prefabs
Icon of Modern Prefab to be Demolished
Dome was Built in a Day