Photos: Kentaro kurihara / Studio Velocity.
From 2009 the Mont Blanc House designed by Studio Velocity is an essay in simplicity and artifice. It is not just the clean lines and simple forms that make this design so attractive.
The house, its particular open windows and façade cuts, somehow suggest an attitude to life, or a freedom to choose ones own life style that its occupants clearly enjoy. Read more
The latest in a series of posts featuring small, architect-designed Japanese houses continues with the Ring House designed by Takei-Nabeshima-Architects (TNA) . Completed around 2005, it sits in a forest just outside Tokyo making a sublime country retreat.
The idea of making a tower in the forest can be found in several indigenous cultures from as far afield as New Zealand and North America. Usually these are totems such as carved tree trunks and are usually about making a cultural noise in the forest.
Creating a multi-storey house in the forest is an entirely different matter. The archetype is normally reserved for the city where space is a premium. Here however, the tower is used to create a sense of intimacy with the forest providing an opportunity to appreciate the trees, and in particular the canopy, in a way less commonly experienced. Read more
Photos: Ae 5 Architects
The M House by Ae 5 Architects raises questions of tradition and modernity in the Japanese town of Kaga City, Ishikawa. A ‘Kurra’ is a traditional Japanese warehouse and is a typological feature of the town – something like a barn as might be understood in western Europe. Every house in the town has a Kura. They are often positioned between the main house and the busy road acting as a privacy screen. This Kurra, like the traditional version, is carefully proportioned and has carefully positioned openings to safeguard the inhabitants privacy. Because its design has followed the traditional principles of layout, form and scale it fits into the town without creating architectural antagonism amongst its neighbours. Read more
Photo: Takashi Fujino / Ikimono Architects
Philosophers have grappled with the idea of an object, a place, or being, having spirit, throughout the ages. Culturally such notions are well developed in Japan where the spirits of certain inanimate objects such as particular rocks, are sometimes revered. Prosaic questions such as what is the spirit, and when is it present are perhaps missing the point, but when people respond to a spontaneous manifestation of spirit in a particular place, there is something to note.
This is what happened with the Pagoda, an elegant polished tower designed by Takashi Fujino / Ikimono Architects + Sunao Koase + Maniackers Design. Located near the holy mountain of Takeyama, where beliefs were collected since ancient times, the tower sways in delicate tension with nature. Read more
Photos and drawings: Takashi FuJino / Ikimono Architects
The introspective aspects of Japanese people, families and society, are explored in the design of this eight household tenement block designed by Ikimono Architects. What sound should your neighbour make? What should passers-by see of your life and the mess that goes with it? Is physical mess compatible with your life, does it define some aspects of it?
There is a psycho-analytical thread running through the design of this building, and those that choose to live in it run the risk of exposing their innermost secrets. Read more