Traditional Thatched Manor House Main House & Gallery  伝統的茅葺屋敷母屋とギャラリー

"The original plan was to stay for two years in Mashiko and to decide on a future course after that. 
....But the award which I received in 1971 changed my plan....starting a family and the prospect of bringing up children 
pushed my plan back to look for a more spacious house and working place." 
(Gerd Knäpper in Daigo, Sep 2008)

ゲルト・クナッパー,2008年9月 大子にて)

Gerd Knapper Daigo House estate before refurbishment

In 1974, Gerd Knäpper purchased an estate with the land of four thousand square meters in the middle of rice fields in Daigo-town, Ibaraki. The manor house was long abandoned and decayed to a level that neighbors were frightened of it's appearance. 

He moved in the house with his family in 1975. He refurbished the traditional house with thatched roof including a gate house and a barn, which was called "Tarosaka-manor house" by the locals, a job which took him several years until he achieved the standard and the characterful appearance it presents today.



Gerd Knapper rethatching the roof of Daigo house

Re-thatching the complete roof


Gerd Knapper rethatching the roof of Daigo house

Gerd Knapper completing and celebrating the rethatching the roof of Daigo house

Celebrating the completion of re-thatching  and re-designing of the main house. In picture: Knäpper, his students, neighbors helping the works and the thatching master. Circa 1980.


Gerd Knapper maintenance and repairing of the roof of Daigo house

Thatched roof has become increasingly rare in Japan in the last century. The houses of this style are replaced with a different, low maintenance material such as tin or slate or are even destroyed and replaced with modern houses. As a consequence there are less experienced thatching masters available and re-thatching has become costly work, despite it requiring frequent repair of parts damaged by humidity (every 3-4 years or every 10 years for the whole roof).

As in the photo right, Knäpper always assisted the master with repairing work with some help from neighbors, for his own learning and to reduce the cost involved.

茅葺き屋根を見かける事は今では全く珍しくなってしまいました。手間のかからないトタンなどを 被せたり、茅をはがしてかわら屋根にしたり、または建物全体を取り壊して現代的な家を建てるようになったからです。湿度によって痛む茅は約10年毎、または傷んだ部分を常に交換する必要があるに関わらず、経験積んだ茅職人も減り、従って茅を葺く作業に掛かる費用が大変嵩むようになってしまった現状があります。


Gerd Knapper Daigo house as it is presently
Gerd Knapper gallery in Daigo
 Interior of the main house 母屋内観

 Many of the displayed pieces including his collections  were destroyed by the 3.11 earthquake in 2011.


Gerd Knapper logo