KICHIJOJI 2015 Grocery_Kichijoji_Tokyo

Use :
Size :
120 ㎡
Type :
architect / director / designer / contractor / construction manager / artisan / supervisor

A new challenge of a long-established rice store

A space for a rice store striving to create a new era while struggling with old conventions


Overall renovation of an 80-year old traditional wood machiya

This is Kanai Rice Store, a rice store with a long history in Kichijoji. The 80-year old store building went through overall renovation this time. The site is located at a 5-minute walking distance from the center of Kichijoji. Although there are fewer passers-by on the street compared with the central area, one can still feel the vibrant energy of the city. The building is one of the few remaining 80-year old wooden machiya (traditional townhouse) around this area. We implemented an overall renovation and added new finishes and equipment in order to create a new rice store for the future while preserving authentic quality of the building. In order to sustain basic performances of the building itself, we implemented repair work using traditional construction methods.

The rice industry itself is going through drastic changes today. Until recently, the rice industry was considered as a fundamental industry for securing food supply and it had been protected and treated in a special way by the government as part of national policies. But the industry was nonetheless affected by social changes in the world, and the old way of business based on the conventional framework was no longer effective. In such situation, the owner of the rice store strives to seek for future possibilities of rice stores and is actively pushing the business forward in new ways. While the owner considered that the main function of the store is to sell rice, he also wanted to use the place to promote and provide information regarding a rice-related food culture in various ways. In addition to the special selection of best-quality rice, food produces food products and other kinds of grains directly purchased from farmers are sold. They also decided to make and sell rice balls. The owner gives information and advices regarding types of rice, rice blends, rice cleaning and more, based on professional expertise. The business is implemented in standard ways and not innovative, but the business is definitely improving through steady efforts.

In terms of design, the two functions, namely a store and a rice mill, are located in such a way that they can be clearly distinguished at a glance. Considering the importance of communication between the store staff and customers, our design aims to invite customers and staff to spontaneously interact with each other. One of the most important issues was to provide effective service circulation paths for smooth operation in the rice mill. Stylist Mayumi Izumi, who is our friend, collaborated on furniture and display design. The space communicates the owner's warm personality, in addition to his superb professional expertise on rice.

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