In Nomi City, Japan, architect Kengo Kuma has renovated an office building recognized as the world’s first earthquake resistant building strengthened by carbon fiber. Rising at three-storeys, the building called ‘fa-bo’ serves as workspace, exhibition and research facility for japanese fabric manufacturer Komatsu Seiren.
During the early design stages, Kuma approached the scheme by developing a hybrid, carbon fiber material called ‘kotmatsu seiren’s cf rod’. Drawing influence from the local technique of rope braiding, the fiber rod created combines together old and new technologies to create a knitted, light, rope-like rod that embodies strong and flexible properties. From afar, these carbon fiber rods gently wrap around the building almost like a transparent cloak. Using computer technology, the positioning of each of these rods were fully calculated in prior to its fabrication to respond to the horizontal seismic force and motion from north to south, and east to west.
Overall, Kuma has turned a seemingly ordinary office block into an elegant building related to its program; visually and functionally. The rods created simultaneously act as seismic support and in turn, could open up possibilities for further earthquake reinforcement strategies in architecture.