furuya design weaves underground sake brewery into the lush landscape of fukui, japan

‘ESHIKOTO’ underground SAKE BREWERY BY Furuya Design

Japanese firm Furuya Design has completed ‘Cave,’ an underground sake brewery and storage facility located within the Eiheiji Town of Fukui Prefecture, Japan. The architectural team has skillfully utilized the natural topography of the area to create a brewery that harmoniously blends with the earth, featuring arched forms that pay homage to the surrounding landscape while serving practical storage functions.

The above-ground section of the brewery named ‘Shuraku’ showcases a thoughtful design, incorporating expansive glazing and spacious balconies. These elements not only provide ample natural light but also offer breathtaking views of the lush greenery that envelops the surroundings. The seamless integration of the building with its natural environment creates an immersive experience for visitors. 

furuya design weaves underground sake brewery into the lush landscape of fukui, japan
overhead view of the entire project | all images courtesy of Furuya Design

subterranean design optimizes storage efficiency & climate control

Furuya Design (find more here) has utilized the significant variation in land elevation, exceeding 3 meters, to craft the subterranean brewery. This underground structure serves the purpose of housing sparkling sake, which undergoes the aging process of the Champagne method, as well as wooden barrels used for aging shochu, a traditional distilled spirit.

The brewery’s arch-shaped structure is constructed using steel formwork typically employed in tunnel construction, with its curvature designed to optimize both storage efficiency and adaptation to the surrounding topography. The room temperature inside the brewery is maintained between 11 and 15 degrees Celsius, achieved through a combination of the soil’s natural heat retention properties and an effective air-conditioning system.

furuya design weaves underground sake brewery into the lush landscape of fukui, japan
the Shuraku brewery

a symbiotic relationship between architecture and tradition

In a nod to the rich heritage of the client, the Kokuryu Sake Brewing Corporation, the facade walls of the brewery were built using wooden floorboards salvaged from the former wooden brewery located in the same town as the construction site. To prevent condensation resulting from temperature differentials within the building, the sashes are crafted from aged chestnut wood sourced from local storehouses. This conscious utilization of traditional materials contributes to the preservation of local cultural elements.

The creation of this underground space, made possible by the expertise of a local construction company in tunneling technology, has become a hub for the development and maturation of innovative sake brewing techniques. Through this project, the intention was to cultivate and support the growth of the local culture by forging a symbiotic relationship between architecture and tradition.

furuya design weaves underground sake brewery into the lush landscape of fukui, japan
Cave reflected in the window glass of Shuraku

furuya design weaves underground sake brewery into the lush landscape of fukui, japan
west exterior of the underground storehouse

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