The village of Kurakuen lies between Kobe and Osaka, and it was here that Shunichiro Ninomiya and Tomoko Morodome from the NRM Architects practice oversaw the creation of a private house that includes an office.
The building was designed to contrast sharply with the formal rigor of traditional Japanese construction and the volume draws heavily on nature, adopting flowing lines and organic shapes. In practice, to achieve this the architects opted for reinforced concrete as it offers such an array of aesthetic and structural solutions, while also bringing substantial uniformity to the surfaces.
The building is largely hidden from the road, but looks out across a small stream. The actual structure is a single construction across two levels, but characterized by the horizontal development of the floor and ceiling sections. Concrete and glazing is then used to create the rhythm of the building, playing with the solid and voids. The purely residential section of the building is on the east, but this is counterbalanced by the office area, which is above a garage on the opposite side. The effect is that the residential and office sections seems separate and this is reinforced through the inclusion of separate entrances, although these maintain a physical dynamic, an aspect highlighted by the chosen architectural and structure solutions.
The design also seeks to integrate the room into nature and nature into the room. This is done by using large windows and skylights in the residential area that allow visual union with the exterior and plenty of natural light. On the southern side, the furthest from the road, the interaction with nature is pushed even more and reflected on the inside, producing a garden feel and the sense of calm that comes from contact with water, wind and sky. The long bathroom was conceived along similar lines, with light flowing in through the openings in the ceiling to be reflected by the white of the furnishings and coatings. The Vero basin by Duravit was selected for its shape and colors. They add a functional, but high quality element to the bathroom, recalling the clean tones and lines of the general architectural approach. The Vero ceramic series is consistently rectangular, marked by elegance, practicality and durability - all features that, added to the numerous size options, make the series excellent in almost any setting. Both the Verso washbasins and the ample console ones can be matched to the bathroom furniture range to create aesthetic uniformity while enhancing the identity of the bathroom.
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