In 2014, Hoshino Resorts was looking to design an open air, walkable structure that would allow visitors to immerse themselves in the spectacular cloud phenomenon known affectionately as unkai – the sea of clouds.
While they originally engaged local design expertise to design a steel cantilevered structure at the shoulder precipice of the mountain, they quickly found inspiration in a Canadian project offering a similar experience – the Sea to Sky Gondola and its timber viewing platforms and suspension bridge near Squamish, BC.
Once Hoshino Resorts saw the potential of the timber structures designed and built by Macdonald & Lawrence Timber Framing with structural design by ISL, they engaged the team to propose an alternate design more suited to the site and vision for the aesthetic of touching the clouds.
With efficient, purposeful design, it proved more practical and cost effective to create a timber structure that would give a light and open dynamic as well as create an architectural piece that would blend organically into the landscape.
The ISL team successfully fit within the shipping parameters of a 40’ sea container and was prefabricated without error. The Tomamu Cloudwalk project used Alaskan Yellow Cedar – a sustainable choice because it is a slow growing, decay-resistant species known for being a durable, termite resistant and a natural alternative to pressure-treated lumber.