“miike” is a conversion project for a hairstylist couple who returned to their hometown at the foot of the Asama mountain after spending more than 15 years in Tokyo. The couple eyed an existing prefab structure used to store farming equipment, which now houses their new hair salon and a photo studio.
Project Name: miike
Studio Name: ihrmk
Location: 3151-4 Kano, Tomi-shi, Nagano-ken
Use: Beauty salon
Structure: S structure
Scale: 1 story
Site Area: 246.93m2
Total area: 64.83m2
Design supervisor: ihrmk (in charge: IHARA Masaki, IHARA Kayo, ONO Kojiro)
Construction (Building): Earl Club
Completion: March 2021
Photo: CHIBA Kenya
The site is located on an unpaved path connecting a small Torii gate and an abandoned shrine that overlook the town of Tomi and the Yatsugatake mountains. Here, the vast fields and scattered prefabs, much like miike, are forming a pastoral scene.
One of the challenges of the project was how to insert a new program into an established local community without disrupting the existing scenery. These prefab structures have been familiar elements to the locals and are an essential architectural typology that forms the area’s character. We determined that converting this 25-year-old prefab was an appropriate choice for this project.
The existing prefab structure stood on a 10 m wide and 6 m long concrete foundation. The entire south-facing side could be opened up to the field in front of it by rolling up the shutter. The other three sides were covered with rectangular corrugated galvanized steel sheets on steel furring strips. It was a simple structure built solely to function as farming equipment storage.
In this project, the furring strips, formerly supporting the exterior walls, are used as a design code to accentuate windows, walls and furniture. The arrangement of openings was determined based on the spacing between the furring strips and columns. The walls and furniture have white lines that match the furring strips’ height or width to add another dimension to their presence.
The salon’s interior and exterior are designed to frame various features that came with the structure. Movable double-sided mirrors are set to reflect the surrounding mountains. The floorboards of the salon and the deck are laid parallel to the adjacent road, while the floor-level window captures a section of the path to the shrine. These mutual references between the elements inside and outside as well as old and new were incorporated to create this new but familiar space.