Kugi-Kumo : Cloud of Nails

We created the pavilion “Kugikumo” at Engyoji Temple in Himeji City.

This pavilion, produced as part of the “Engyoji x Kengo Kuma Design work for longevity: Utilitarian beauty for future” project by the All Himeji Arts & Life Project, was designed in collaboration with SEKISUI HOUSE – KUMA LAB and the Norihiro Ejiri Laboratory at the Department of Architecture and Design, Japan Women’s University.

It will be exhibited on-site from June 16, 2024, to December 1, 2024.


The traditional Japanese nail, known as wakugi, differs significantly from the mass-produced Western nails that are manufactured in factories. Each wakugi is handcrafted, resulting in a square shaft that has a larger surface area compared to the round shafts of Western nails. This characteristic allows wakugi to grip materials more effectively.

Today, there are very few workshops in Japan that still produce wakugi. One of the few remaining is the Myochin Honpo in Himeji. The wakugi made by the Myochin family are renowned for their distinctive, deep black color and have been used in the restoration of Himeji Castle.

In a unique collaboration with the KUMA LAB at the University of Tokyo and the Ejiri Laboratory at Japan Women’s University, we created a pavilion that highlights these unsung heroes, which are usually hidden away when driven into wood. This pavilion celebrates the craftsmanship of wakugi, turning them into the central feature of the structure.

By combining these meticulously crafted nails with precision-CNC-milled transparent pipes made using digital fabrication techniques, we created a pavilion where the nails appear to disperse into the air like a cloud. 

Kengo Kuma

“Kugi-Kumo” Design Team

The University of Tokyo, SEKISUI HOUSE – KUMA LAB

Kengo Kuma, Toshiki Hirano, Nozomu Sudo, Naoki Tagawa


Japan Women’s University, Faculty of Architecture and Design, Norihiro Ejiri Laboratory

Norihiro Ejiri, Chie Matsuo, Mikako Koshio, Misaki Oomoto, Mizuki Saito, Misaki Hachinohe


Wakugi production: Munetaka Myochin

Construction: Tokyo Studio