When we began planning The Branch project here in Osaka, we made a firm decision that we would design and build as much of it as possible ourselves. This was not just to contain our costs (although it did), but because we wanted to begin a transition away from our society’s over-reliance on industry and the capitalist mentality, and instead to engage in the spirit of smallness, regeneration, relationships, sharing, giving new life to old things, and just generally living lightly on the planet.
As a result, most of the materials used in this project were salvaged from old homes that had been torn down, and all of the work was done by our own hands and those of like-minded volunteers who are happy to build and enjoy an active community space together with us.
With that, here’s a look what has transpired here over the past five months…
Works in the Gallery Space – cut, transport, oil, and install the wood planks for flooring; tear off wall veneer and repair / re-frame / soil / plaster the walls and existing latticework; paint; design and install USB-powered gallery lighting system; repair holes in rear wall; paint; bathroom wall re-plastering; remove rotting bathroom sink and build new sink fixture
Images above show the process of remodeling what eventually became the main gallery space.
The Community Cafe
Works in the Community Cafe / Library – Wire and install new lighting; removal of wall veneer and repair of mud walls; apply ‘kyoto plaster’ to interior walls; strip, sand and refinish wood support post and beams; build entryway standing bar table; build kitchen table; pot/pan hanging system; kitchen shelving; paint; build library under staircase; build/carve mailbox and signage for exterior
Images above show the process of remodeling the kitchen and community cafe space.
The Pocket Farm
Works in the Pocket Farm – convince the land owner to allow two foreigners (aka: Patrick and Suhee) to be ‘stewards’ of the empty land, and get a contract signed; take off fence and clean up; site survey, design, and basic earthwork to maintain cultivated and wild areas; transport and assemble stone work; soil excavation for planter box footings; build planter boxes (7); up-cycled benches (with old roofing tiles); plant research and planning; seedling nursery and transplanting;
More construction images and stories can be seen in the Building The Branch section of this website.