Toyo Ito, Kumiko Inui, Sou Fujimoto, Akihisa Hirata
|Photo © Iwan Baan
In the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated the eastern coast of Japan two years ago this month, the small town of Rikuzentakata has looked to the ruins for renewal. Led by Toyo Ito, a team of young Japanese designers has created a modest community center out of the wreckage using saltwater-soaked trees wiped out in the storm. For months volunteers came daily to help build the project, using the wood columns as structural supports. The town, which lost an estimated 1,800 residents and where 5,000 still live in temporary housing, has been vocal about perceived government inertia that continues on the second anniversary of the disaster. The Home-for-All project has become a beacon for the community, where the pangs of the storm remain sharp. Wrapped with wood balconies and raised on stilts, the structure looks out to the detritus and stalled construction beyond.