The sake brewing process uses water in varying states. Carefully-timed spigots soak and wash milled rice, steam prepares the rice for koji spores, and ice helps regulate the temperature of the fermenting mixture, which is 80% water.
As an active brewery and museum, Water Machine engages museum visitors with a series of discrete rooms that pair a gallery with an environment. Visitors move through a cool and dim rice storage room, a room for washing and soaking rice, a room filled with steam, a dim and humid koji room, and a cold and dark subterranean chamber for fermentation and bottling.
Situated as a relief from the density of Pontocho Alley, a series of pools step down through the open ground floor to tie the project into the adjacent Kamo River. Like an aqueous theater set, water rises and falls to temper the various environments contained within.