Mesh/earth terrace house | The Plan
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Mesh/earth terrace house

Kengo Kuma and Associates

Mesh/earth terrace house
By Redazione The Plan -

Standing in a green district of Tokyo, this three-storey house with large open roof terrace is an exercise in interwoven, intermeshed elements, contrast and overlay. Spaces, materials, luminosity and views onto the surrounding greenery all combine to create complex relations, and essential, sleek geometries and volumes. The building seems to nestle into the vegetation. Even the boundary wall, made up of alternating transparent and stone segments, is bordered by trees on both sides, some set in straight rows running parallel to the manmade barrier. The striking architectural feature is the dialogue created between the building’s external skin and the full-height glazed walls of both the day and night zones. Superposed welded metal mesh panels run like protective bands around the walls, the top band serving as a balustrade for the roof terrace. The “empty” sections allow direct communication between indoors and out. The overlaid metal grids are both symbolic - their complex three-dimensional geometry recalling a crystalline structure - and a statement of uncompromising materiality. They combine transparency and physicality. Close up the grids reveal all their harsh materiality; seen from afar they look like delicate openwork fabric. The building’s “L”-shaped plan virtually separates the residential spaces from the plant and equipment area, stairwell and ground floor tearoom. The circulation routes are duplicated: one entrance gives directly into the ground-floor living room while the upper levels can be accessed from an outer staircase. The distribution pathways neatly overlap. The outside staircase leading to the upper level rises over a reflective pool onto which the tearoom and living area open out, while a stone slab path leads to a traditional ritual washing area. Inside, a range of different materials: wooden beams and ceiling in the tearoom, white marble, wood flooring, and composite plastering on the ceilings.

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