Houses with gardens
This house is a weekend house, which stands on a slope site overlooking the Mt. Asama beyond. The client is a couple, both having a balanced lifestyle with ideal work and private lives, planned to spend a good part of their shared time together in this weekend house. Thus, the couple required us to design a house with an extraordinary and high sense of design, which reminds them each time to look forward to visiting the weekend house in the woods.
During our initial meetings at the beginning of the design process, the client mentioned following “wish list”. “The shed roof should have a slope directed towards Mt. Asama... The living room should have ample space to accommodate friends and children, to have fun-filled gatherings to serving delicious food and drink on our weekends in Karuizawa... We want to enjoy the view of Mt. Asama from our Jacuzzi drinking Champagne... We want to display and store our favorite bottles of wine and wine glasses which we have collected over the years... The pantry should be large enough to accommodate the sets of dishes we own... The study, where we often have the Skype meetings, should be flexible enough to open and close at will, so that the privacy can be maintained... Master bedroom and the guest room on the first floor should be able to feel the earth and the ground... Perhaps, we will move to this house in the future...”
Taking into these wishes into account, we developed a concept of “Openness”, and “Protectiveness” for our design. First, the contiguous living, dining, and kitchen space on Level 2 opens up wide towards Mt. Asama as a gesture to take in the surrounding natural environment. A large roof, extending over the balcony with a depth of 3.5 meters, is turned upwards at the corner 4 meters above the balcony. This motion of the “roof-in-flight” is supported by two slender posts below. The metaphoric expression of this moment is like “cuddling the interior space”. On the remaining three elevations, we rhythmically placed a series of full height windows to bring the natural light into the building. Our goal is to mitigate claustrophobic feeling throughout the building in relation to the surrounding natural landscape. The result is a pleasant space, which provides multiple dimensions of sightlines and natural ventilation. On the other hand, our design combines the built-in cabinetry with the window as well as the staircase to be the buffers between the exterior and the interior spaces, guaranteeing the family a feeling of protectiveness. The design team was assisted by our builder to work out the details juxtaposing furniture or mechanical equipment at various locations in the building. At the end of the day, we felt that our design achieved harmonious integration of the interior space, the architecture and the surrounding natural environment.
Thus, the couple instructed us to bring in brilliant and extraordinary color palette into our design scheme, which is in contrast with their home in Tokyo. Our solution is to lay the grey-beige stacked stone on the walls throughout the exterior and the interior, which the couple had suggested after researching magazines and visiting similar installations. Then, in order to highlight the walls, we combined the refreshing auburn-colored black cherry flooring and bright, deep colors for the wall-coverings and furniture pieces. We feel that the “fun and fashionable” personality of the couple has been successfully expressed in our design. On the other hand, we specified grey, white and walnut color combinations for the bathroom, creating a calm feeling in the solitary space.
Since the completion of the construction in the spring of 2016, a set of dining table and stacking chairs for the exterior space has been installed, followed by a pizza oven placed on the terrace. We were told that many of the couple’s friends and family members came to enjoy the weekend house in Karuizawa in the summer. And over the first winter in their weekend home, we’ve learned that the family was thoroughly enjoying the snow-covered scenery of the Karuizawa terrain.
(George Kunihiro, Yumi Zoraku)
Gross Floor Area (mq)204.01
ArchitectsGeorge Kunihiro / T-Life environmental Lab. + Yumi Zoraku / FIVES
Design teamHirofumi Hiraki / Hiraki Architectural Structure Designers, Yutaka Murase, Tomotaka Mano / Tetens Consulting Engineering
Main ContractorSatoshi Sekiguchi / Daiichi Kensetsu Ltd.
Photo CreditsHiroyuki Hirai
This house is a weekend house, which stands on a slope site overlooking the Mt. Asama beyond. The client is a couple, both having a balanced lifestyle with ideal work and private lives, planned to spend a good part of their shared time together in this weekend house. The couple required us to design a house with an extraordinary and high sense of design, which reminds them each time to look forward to visiting the weekend house in the woods. During our initial meetings at the beginning of the design process, the client mentioned the “wish list”. Taking into these wishes into account, we developed a theme,“Nature, Light, Wind”, and proposed a concept of “Openness / Protectiveness” for our design.