Tono Mirai’s encounter with raw earth stems from a desire to recover the manual side of architectural creation and he goes in search of materials that could give him this possibility. He sees in raw earth the possibility of creating more welcoming spaces, capable of channelling life energies and curing the stress of contemporary life with round, gentle forms combined with warm and natural colours.
In 1995 he founded his own studio and began to devote himself to organic and contemporary architecture in raw earth. For the new home and office designed for his family, sickened by physical and psychological stress, he chose an airy, fluid design, far from the idea of a closed box typical of the ultra-modern flats in central Tokyo, to create a space where he can relax. In renovating the “Kanda SU/Nest House” he used the traditional plastering technique of the Japanese craftsmen of Sakan: the result transforms a succession of closed, lifeless spaces into a welcoming environment vibrant with positive energy, capable of changing over time and regenerating according to the Jinen philosophy.
In 2000, during the inauguration of “nest=0” in London, visitors from all over the world found a familiar typology in that building, showing that earthen architecture can strike a universal chord. In the following years the commissions followed. Works such as “Red Container”, “Future House” and especially “Shell House/ The language of the forest”, his representative creation, combine a unique and essential design with the benefits and comfort of traditional earth architecture. His ability to push the concept of sustainability with the use of organic and local materials, and for having freed the construction procedure from the slavery of industrial processes and components, and for his modern use of traditional techniques, has bestowed Tono Mirai with international prizes and awards, participating too in talks and conferences in Japan and Europe.

About Ofiice

Tono Mirai architects

CEO Tono Mirai
First-class architect

961-27 Oiwake, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano Prefecture

+81 (0)267-31-6264

His portfolio also includes several installations in raw clay, which transform this material into a vehicle for conveying his ideas. His most recent research focuses on the use of the pisé technique in a modern Japanese way that involves the mixed use of wood and earth, and on the potential of reusing earth from construction waste.

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Tono Mirai will participate in the Architecture Biennale in Venice 2021 with a new site-specific installation, part of the exhibition “Time Space Existence” organised by the European Cultural Center.

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APDC DESIGN AWARDS, Asia Pacific Design Center, Excellence Award, Architecture Category


Finalist Prize, Wooden Construction Category, A+Award 2023, International Architecture Site Architizer, Nagano Prefecture Hometown Forestation Award, Prefectural Governor’s Award, Wood Design Award 2023, 55th Chubu Architectural Award 2023, Japan Wood Growers’ Federation (JWF) Wood Use Competition Excellence Prize, Japan Wood Growers’ Federation Chairman’s Award, Japan Wood Growers’ Federation (JWF) Finalist Prize, Wood Construction Category, International Architecture Site Architizer, Japan Wood Growers’ Federation (JWF) Nagano Prefecture Governor’s Prize, Wood Design Award 2023, 55th Chubu Architectural Award 2023, 36th Nagano City Landscape Award, Tanita Housingware Roofed Architecture Contest 2023, Jury’s Special Prize, Rain Road Design Award, and the Roofed Architecture Design Contest 2023.

・Shell House / Mori no ie
The 3rd Japan Federation of Architects & Building Engineers Associations Architectural Work Award, Incentive Award (residential and living space category), 2nd JIA Nagano Architectural Award, Honorable Mention

Director-General’s Prize of the Forestry Agency, 2022 Competition for Superior Facilities Using Wood, organized by the Central Council for the Promotion of Wood Use, and BLT Built Design Awards 2022, Architectural Design Category Prize, international architecture website BLT Built Design Awards.
BUILD BUILD Architecture Awards 2022 Best Sustainable Contemporary Architecture Practice Award

Wood Design Award 2021

Wood Design Award 2021
Mori Chikara Award, International Architecture Site BUILD BUILD Architecture Awards 2020 (UK), Best Residential Design Award in Japan, Best Architectural Design and Supervision Award, Architectural Institute of Japan, Japan 2020 (100 Outstanding Architectural Works)

Nagano Prefecture Architectural Culture Award, Best Residential Design Award (Prefectural Governor’s Award), Jury’s Award, Residential Design Category, A+Award sponsored by Architizer, an international architecture website

Wood Design Award 2018, Chubu Architectural Award, Residential Section, Special Prize

Contemporary Architecture of the World Soil TERRA AWARD, Honorable Mention
Japan Institute of Architects, Kanto Koshinetsu Branch, Conference Encouragement Award

Japan Plaster Association Work Award .

Japan Plaster Association Award for the Best Work / Children’s Environment Society Award for Encouragement of Design / 1st Prize in the Actual Work Category for a New Traditional Construction House .

Monotsukuri University, 1st Prize in the actual work section of the competition for a house with new traditional construction method .
Children’s Environment Society of Japan Award, Design Encouragement Prize

Excellent Prize, Residence Renovation Competition
Special Prize, Eco-Art Award

Grand Prize, Renovation, Renewal & Conversion Design Competition / Honorable Mention, Interior Planning Award

Nashop Lighting Contest, Newcomer Award
Nashop Lighting Contest Newcomer Award Dining Bar hana