Innovative Concrete Technology: Nendo’s CO2-Removing House in Japan

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In Japan’s mountainous town of Karuizawa, a remarkable house has emerged, boasting walls crafted from cutting-edge CO2-removing concrete. 

Designed by the renowned Japanese studio Nendo, this 110-meter-long dwelling stands alongside a road on a spacious property. 

Karuizawa, situated 70 minutes from Tokyo, is celebrated as one of Japan’s oldest and most renowned mountain resort towns. 

It is famed for its pleasant summers and lush forests that offer inviting cycling and walking paths.

The key feature of this house lies in its walls, which are constructed from a revolutionary material known as CO2-SUICOM concrete. 

Developed by a collaboration between Kajima, Chugoku Electric Power Co., Denka, and Landes Co., this eco-friendly concrete replaces a portion of cement with an industrial byproduct. 

It incorporates a material capable of absorbing carbon dioxide. The result? Reduced CO2 emissions during production, marking a significant step forward in sustainable construction practices.

In a world where cement and concrete production contribute approximately 8% of total carbon emissions, this innovative approach to construction holds immense promise. 

Energy-based CO2 emissions from Japan’s cement industry alone accounted for about 1.2% of the nation’s total emissions in 2020, highlighting the urgency for greener alternatives.

Nendo’s design philosophy for this house centered on creating concrete block walls that function as filter screens. 

The design team achieved controlled visibility while maintaining aesthetic appeal by strategically adjusting the angles of these blocks. 

The resulting effect allows for both privacy and visual intrigue, as the arrangement of blocks dictates what can be seen and what remains hidden.

Approximately 2,050 of these blocks are meticulously stacked to form five towering walls, each standing three meters tall. 

The spaces between these walls are ingeniously utilized to create living areas, ensuring a harmonious blend of functionality and design. 

To further enhance the living experience, the blocks’ angles were adjusted by three degrees to optimize privacy and comfort.

The environmental benefits of CO2-SUICOM concrete extend beyond its production phase. Through a unique process, CO2 is fed into the curing chamber during concrete formation, where it is absorbed and fixed within the material. 

Unlike traditional concrete blocks emitting significant CO2 during production, CO2-SUICOM achieves carbon neutrality by trapping CO2 within its structure and preventing its release into the atmosphere.

Nendo’s innovative approach to architecture is not limited to this project. Founded by Oki Sato in 2002, Nendo has a history of pushing the boundaries of design, as evidenced by its previous work, such as a treehouse nestled in a forest in Komoro City, Nagano Prefecture. 

This unique structure, designed to accommodate both birds and humans, exemplifies Nendo’s commitment to creating functional and environmentally conscious spaces.

Nendo’s CO2-removing house in Karuizawa is a testament to innovation’s power in addressing environmental challenges. 

Nendo has created a visually striking dwelling and paved the way for more sustainable construction practices by harnessing the potential of CO2-SUICOM concrete. 

As the world grapples with climate change, initiatives like these offer hope for a greener, more sustainable future.

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