Japan: Biophilic Design Inspires Timber Use in 8-Storey Office

H10 is the third Nomura Real Estate Development project to achieve SGEC project certification

Mon 12 Jun 23


H10 Umedia Chayamachi is the latest in a long line of timber buildings emerging in the Japanese skyline. The number of ‘wooden’ buildings is surging, driven by ‘timber-first’ incentives provided by the Japanese government.

Based in Osaka, the 3rd largest city in Japan and the 10th-largest metropolitan area in the world, the new 8-storey building provides shared office accommodation to start-ups, satellite offices, and freelancers.

The building stands at 38 metres, has a total floor area of 2,187 square metres, is partially supported by a timber frame, and was completed in April 2023.

With a mantra of providing ‘happiness at work,’ Nomura Real Estate Development’s third project aims to achieve PEFC certification.

Over 93.7% of the timber used carries full SGEC project certification issued by the Japanese governing body for PEFC.

SGEC certification ensures that the timber used on the project was sourced from Japanese larch and cedar forests and was processed, manufactured, and installed through a local supply chain.

The wooden structure, columns, and beams of the 1st and 2nd floors were provided by Sumitomo Forestry Co. under its full SGEC chain of custody.

In total more than 21.5 cubic meters of 100% SGEC-certified larch and 1.5 cubic meters of SGEC-managed cedar were used in the project.

Project certification ensures that all forest-based materials used on the project can be traced through a PEFC chain of custody scheme. It is the ultimate seal of approval and, according to PEFC International, is the highest level of certification available for a project.

SGEC-certified timber was used extensively in the first floors of the building frame and across all eight floors of the interior fitout.

Constructed by Tokyu Construction, ‘H10’ is a new generation of serviced offices strongly influenced by biophilic design, providing a working environment deeply connected to nature. A statement Nomura Real Estate Development explains:

“Biophilic design is said to positively impact people in various ways, including physical and mental health, productivity, and creativity. The vividly fresh greenery in our offices and the natural sounds, light, and aromas nourish the working spirit.”

Biophilic design is so closely tied to human happiness that according to a survey of 7,600 workers across 16 countries, Human Spaces found that people working in offices where they encountered nature were 15 % happier, 6 % more productive, and 15 % more creative.

Footage courtesy of @SimpleDwelling

The building offers a variety of common areas, such as a lounge that uses wood everywhere, a rooftop terrace with a sense of openness, individual booths where you can concentrate on your work, and a ladies’ lounge exclusively for women.

“We value the mental health and personal preferences of our tenants and seek to provide environments where workers can be happy. Our pursuit is new-era offices that conform to each occupant, maximize individual potential, and support the small businesses that will transform society,” according to the statement.

In late 2022, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s health management released a report highlighting the importance of office environments encouraging seven tenets for physically and mentally robust workers.

The seven tenets have strongly influenced the design of the building.

In addition, the building specifications met various design and performance standards, including CASBEE and BELS which are the Japanese green building and energy rating schemes.

  • The case study will appear in the next PEFC / APAC newsletter published on June 14, 2023. Sign up for the PEFC / APAC newsletter to get the latest information on all PEFC certifications in the Asia / Pacific region.


  • Wood Central

    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


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