This is a Nanbu tekki (ironware) foundry in Oshu, Iwate, that mainly produces iron kettles. The various work areas are positioned along the windows, while the center of the space is normally left clear as an area for placing the unfinished ironware during the production process. Casting mold production takes place by the south-facing windows, where the craft workers can clearly see their hands and the surfaces of the molds. The craft workers orient themselves so that the light comes in from their front right. The foundry has a high ceiling and high-placed, outward-swinging hopper windows that can be operated by a pull cord to let out smoke. These windows are kept fully open whenever the furnace is in use, even during the winter, as they can clear the smoke more quickly than the exhaust fan at the center of the building. The floor by the casting area is finished with tamped earth rather than concrete to prevent molten metal from splashing up.
Sashu Chuzosho (Sashu Foundry)
Nanbu Ironware / Oshu, Iwate
This article is an excerpt from “Window Workology,” a joint research project concerning windows and the behaviors around them done in collaboration with Tokyo Institute of Technologyʼs Yoshiharu Tsukamoto Laboratory.