2014 - 2015


Construction is like a DNA. In the marks of chiselled timber, one can read the mind of the craftsman. Japan is a country of wooden construction, and the idea of heritage is unique in the sense that the skill and knowledge of makers are transferred from generation to generation through the act of dismantling and rebuilding. The ancient temples in Japan are re built every 300 years or so for major repairs. The building itself is considered as a record of history, reread by carpenters every 300 years. The historic buildings are not the things of past, but the DNA for future generations.

The third year architecture students from Studio 3.2 at Kingston University led by tutors Takeshi Hayatsu and Simon Jones continued this notion of learning through rebuilding, by prefabricating and erecting wooden temple structure in the garden of Dorich House Museum, Kingston Vale.

It is a collaborative project with Stanley Picker Gallery, as part of the on-going investigation into timber construction. The Studio built an interpretation of the Temple Gate from Todaiji Nandaimon, Nara Japan, built in 1199, and listed by UNESCO World Heritage Site as a ‘Historic Monument of Ancient Nara’.

Half of Nandaimon at 1:5 scale was made using standard treated timber sections. The traditional Japanese post and beam construction principle is adapted to suit standard modern-day 2 x 2” and 2 x 3” softwood. Over 3,000 components were prefabricated in the Kingston University workshop, using jigs and templates to create a structure over 5m tall, and with a footprint of 3m square. 

Dorich House Pavilion_Section.jpg

Structural advice has been very kindly provided by Price & Myers.

The timber is Scottish spruce and has been generously donated by James Jones and Sons, who grow and harvest, sustainably managed forests in Scotland. 

Corrugated roofing sheets were provided by EuroClad.

The installation at Dorich House Museum was forming part of London Festival of Architecture 2015.


Takeshi Hayatsu, Simon Jones


Hind Alkaabi, Camila Beneman, Marie Blaker, Pablo Ferio Boirac, Grant Codrai, Charlie Duzdabanian, Madoka Ellis, Yasmine Faress, Asia Hama, William Himpe, Dorothy Jackson, Sutthinee Jaroonsote, Camille Lacoste, Francesca Merton, Sindre Aarhus Narvestad, Varun Sharma, Tiberio Valenca Riberio, Giselle Sabino, Vibecke Solli, Sofie Sovik, Nathalie Wathne, Ashley Worrell

Workshop staff

Richard Trupp, Stuart Hollister, Timothy Clarke


David Falkner Stanley Picker Gallery, Dorich House Museum


James Jones and Sons for Scottish spruce timber, Euroclad for metal roof

Structural advice

Price & Myers


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