IT IS A GARDEN (2016) by ASSISTANT located in Nagano, Japan | The Hardt
IT IS A GARDEN (2016) by ASSISTANT located in Nagano, Japan. Hiroi Ariyama & Megumi Matsubara of the architectural firm ASSISTANT are pleased to announce the completion of a house IT IS A GARDEN, in the forest of Karuizawa, Nagano, Japan. IT IS A GARDEN stands in the forest of Karuizawa, surrounding and surrounded by the trees and plants of the forest. The house was designed as a guest house containing a private art gallery for the owner’s collection.
Its shape is flat and square, the one-story house has a floor plan entirely defined by five courtyards alone. All facades of the building are made of concrete walls and black glass, clearly dividing its interior space from the external environment. The house opens its reinforced concrete roof to the sky in order to create five courtyards. The exterior roofs tilt inwards only vertically inviting light as well as shadows and reflections of the surrounding nature. The interior roofs and floor levels consequently create rhythmical geometry to support the simplicity of the exterior. All rooms are designed to face the courtyards each of which is distinct in character designed to receive light at different times of the day. The sun rises and sets. The moon waxes and wanes. This unbroken rhythm of light, to which we submit the entire architecture, defines this house.
In the design of IT IS A GARDEN, the concept of the vertical interplay of the sun through the courtyards crosses with the horizontal connection to the Japanese natural sceneries. The architecture’s volume is designed to receive those elements in all dimensions; the slants of light at ever-changing angles, the shadow of the forest trees, as well as komorebi—the interplay of light and leaves. They keep moving and draw a garden of shadows all over the floor at the speed of the moving sun and wind. The interior glass walls and windows create a garden of kaleidoscopic reflections of trees and plants projected on them from every courtyard. Not only the courtyards, but such gardens made of immaterial elements that emerge from the interplay of vertical and horizontal relationships to nature are also the gardens meaningfully designed in this house. Light and shadows move freely as if they were the main inhabitants of this house. The client of the house desired it to be a private space to provide inspiration more than anything else. The architects answered that the first priority of this house should become the sunlight—light being the permanent host, closest cohabitant.
Located in Fukuoka, Japan, House in Ropponmatsu (2011) by Kazunori Fujimoto Architect & Associates | The Hardt
Located in Fukuoka, Japan, House in Ropponmatsu (2011) by Kazunori Fujimoto Architect & Associates. This house is located in the city area nearby the center of Fukuoka city on a long and narrow site, 6m x 18m. We designed this house so that it wouldn’t cast a shadow on the north side of the neighboring house. This resulted in an “L” shaped house with three stories. In contrast to the closed exterior, the interior is designed well lit and open. At the ground floor level, you can see across space from the entrance court to the bedroom. Each room is filled with light and breeze from the two courts. The storage and bathroom are placed on the second floor, and another bedroom is on the third floor. At third floor level, keeping a distance from the road, we get a wide view, from the garden tree nearby to the faraway mountains. The simple form, defined by the condition of the site, has been transformed into an affluent living space for.
Aesthetically and Geographically Related projects:
Nara House by Fuji Architects, located in Japan | The Hardt
Nara House by Fuji Architects, located in Japan. The House adopts a central garden courtyard spanning the entire height of the dwelling, and while the intensity of light entering the living doesn’t match that of conventional windows, the end result creating a super vibey space. Vast black-framed doors seal off the living spaces from this courtyard which span the double-height ceiling and add to the somewhat industrial tone of the interior. Fuji Architects embraced the potentially gloomy atmosphere and didn’t try to compensate with white paint, instead employing dark grey colors in a successful attempt at creating a monochromatic space. This dark setting allows a greater contrast with the lights scattered throughout the space and the vibrancy of the plant-life. Specific species capable of growing in low-light conditions were selected including ferns.
Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:
ReGEN House (2017) by EKAR located in Khwaeng Bang Bumru, Thailand | The Hardt
ReGEN House (2017) by EKAR located in Khwaeng Bang Bumru, Thailand. After living with his parents until the time he has his own family, our client moved out to his own house located opposite his parents’. The very first intention of our client was to renovate the existing house to be suitable for his first-born daughter – Meena. However, after the completion of architectural drawing, our client changed his mind. From his experience, it is not pleasing when it comes to living apart from his parents. Being a new parent makes our client become truly thinking about his daughter and her future. Therefore, he bought another land opposite his house and next to his parent’s house, with an effort to create a place where he can live with his child Meena till the time when she has her own family.
Long before Bangkok established, Thai people live in a big family which consists of grandparents, father, mother, and children (and sometimes including uncle and aunt). The way of Thai’s life has influenced on the architectural design of Thailand. A traditional Thai house, in general, is composed of a variety of small detached-houses in which each small family lives, and a patio in a middle of the houses, where connects each family together. The house sits on poles which creates a high open space under the house, allowing good wind flow to pass through and lowering the temperature inside. In addition, protecting the dwellers from flood and wild animals. Therefore, this ground floor is mainly for parking and storage. While the residential area is on the first floor of the house where life starts. The attempt is to enhance living quality as well as the family relationship; meanwhile, individuals still have their own private space.
Nonetheless, the modern context is full of complexity creating complication in Thai people’s life. Land prices soar in capital forcing people to live apart from their family. Modern people tend to move into micro-apartments nearby their workplaces or too small detached-houses outside the city where the land prices are still affordable. The question is whether or not it is possible that we could create a house which brings back the comfort of traditional Thai houses to the modern context. The land is located on the corner of a road, and next to the house of client’s parents where he grew up. With an area of 640 square meters, the architect embraces the concept of traditional Thai architecture to the planning to maximize this limited area. By creating L-shape building and lifting all residential spaces to the upper floors; leaving ground floor free for storage and parking area of ten cars. The wall between the parents’ house and the new one is eliminated and filled with a big new garden along the existing garden of parents’ house to create consistency of space.
Regarding client’s wish, the architects divided the floor planning of four-story house. The second floor is meant for the client’s family, while the third floor is for his daughter’s future family. Hence, in order to gather everyone in the family (and his daughter’s future family) together, the first floor is a focal point. On this floor, there are an entertainment room and a grand patio which become the common area for the client’s family (and also the future family). Furthermore, this floor is inspired by a traditional ground level in which natural elements are closely surrounded. Ranging from the swimming pool on the same floor which reflects a riverside sensation to the elevated yard across the swimming pool. The gap between the swimming pool and the elevated yard allows a tree from the ground floor to grow through. Also, allowing sunlight to stream in a glass pavilion (gardening pavilion) underneath. On the grand patio, users’ eyesight will be led to the swimming pool, the elevated yard, the top of the tree (grew on the ground floor), the existing garden of parents’ house, and to the parents’ house, respectively.
The intention is to make our client feel close to their parents. As well as to lay down watching Meena running around on this grand patio, like on a real ground. East side of the land is opposite the eight-story economic apartment. Therefore, the architects conceal the house on this side, in order to block the unpleasant view as well as to protect the residents from prying eyes, by providing windows or voids at the minimum number. Back to the ground floor, there is a main entrance on the east side which is made of solid wood. While on the first floor, on the same side, there are floor-to-ceiling wooden-grill window pivots which can be opened to allows ventilation and can be closed when privacy is in need. In terms of material selection, each floor of the ReGEN House features different materials, such as wood, stone-texture coated wall, and stone-like tiles. This material combination creates a uniqueness to the facade which still fits into the surrounding context.
The Riparian House (2015) by Architecture BRIO located in Karjat, India | The Hardt
The Riparian House (2015) by Architecture BRIO located in Karjat, India. Not a long drive away from Mumbai, a mountainous landscape rises up, called the Western Ghats. From this UNESCO world heritage area, numerous rivers and streams find their way down through an undulating landscape eventually feeding into the Bombay bay. The Riparian House is placed just below the top of a hillock at the foothills of the Ghats. The top of a vegetated roof merges with the top of the hillock, hiding the house from the approach on the east side. Inside the house, one can nevertheless enjoy the views to the north of the Irshalgad hill fortress and towards the west the sunset while the river winds its way across the agricultural fields.
Since the most of the site is steeply sloping with a 1:4 gradient, the vegetated roof gives the house an additional usable area. From the top it seems to be an extension of the natural landscape, enhancing the understatedness of the house. The green cover serves to keep the house below cool due to its insulative properties. Along the central axis of the house landscaped steps lead you along a coarse stone wall towards the pool deck. The second set of steps connects to the main level of the house where the axis culminates via the dining room and kitchen into a light-filled courtyard. The experience of being inside the earth is enhanced through the stone boulders which were discovered during the excavation process and retain the earth. The kitchen occupies a central position along with the open to sky courtyard and is flanked on either side by two bedrooms at the two far ends. These spaces are embedded in the earth with windows bringing in ample light from above and the riverside. A master bedroom, bathroom, dining, and living area sit along the front, a more open face of the house. Both the living room in the western corner of the house and the master bedroom in the northern corner enjoy panoramic views of the river.
Galvanized steel mullioned windows break down the scale of the front façade of the house. A rhythmic row of bamboo poles is placed at close intervals in front of the house to create a layer of privacy without obstructing the spectacular view of the river and the mountains beyond. The bamboo enclosure creates a dialogue between the interior and the dramatically changing landscape. The natural landscape changes from a dense brightly green colored jungle-like forest during the monsoon months to a pale brown shrubby wasteland during the dry and hot summer months. The building has to respond to these extreme conditions by allowing enough shade and breeze during the summer and providing a waterproof indoor environment during the stormy monsoons. The screen of columns creates an ever-changing pattern of light and shadow throughout the seasons and times of the day, making the building a ‘sensor’ of light. The walls are built in Indian limestone in a coarse pattern, which makes the house seem to rise out of the ground giving it a solid base. This is contrasted by the lightness of a suspended timber deck verandah which surrounds the house on three sides. The covered verandahs allow for comfortably ventilated and shaded semi-indoor spaces. Internally the timber floor continuous as a border around various patterned natural stone floors. In front of the living room, the deck extends to form a large outdoor deck with a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape
Plain Space Exhibition – John Pawson – Design Museum London 2010 | The Hardt
Plain Space Exhibition – John Pawson – Design Museum London 2010. The goal here was to communicate the thinking and give a sense of the body of work, whilst also engaging the widest possible audience. Since engagement is facilitated by first-hand experience, a site-specific, 1:1 installation was conceived as a key element — the first time anyone had constructed a building inside the Design Museum. As well as the more conventional curated content of an architectural show, the design incorporated subtle changes to the gallery space itself, on the basis that the success of the exhibition would not simply be a matter of the quality of the assembled material, but of the overall atmosphere, this spatial recalibration would generate.
The team at Studio Hardie, based in Lewes, East Sussex, has a wide range of specialist expertise from cutting-edge design to age-old craft skills. In this post, Hamish Boden describes the challenges they faced when creating the ultimate modern exhibition space using traditional skills. This project was a 1:1 scale architectural installation to host the Plain Space exhibition for British architect John Pawson , described by the New York Times as “the father of modern architectural minimalism”. The installation space was both a location for the exhibition and part of the event and was based at the Design Museum, London, in September 2010. Hamish writes “This was one of Studio Hardie’s first full-scale architectural installations, essentially a building inside a building. The difficulty with achieving a crisp minimal look is that exposed fixings are not allowed so all the mechanics go on behind the scenes. Another major hurdle of the project was the timescale, achieving the level of tolerance and perfection on a really tight installation turnaround. The beauty of having such a big workshop is that you can create entire structures, test them check everything fits and make fine adjustments before leaving the workshop, this can save days of site work.
Spending time meticulously planning the install is critical; the choreography of how everything comes together quickly, accurately and beautifully. We couldn’t rely on ‘off the shelf’ being totally straight so we designed a new system for making dead flat-straight walls out of MDF torsion boxes. You often hear carpenters complaining about using MDF but for us it was a rare treat. We are used to using solid timber that shrinks cracks and moves. MDF, in contrast, is a very predictable and versatile material. It was a real challenge to create the curved ceiling. We knew that constructing the sections on the floor would mean we could make a much better quality finish than working over-head. This is where modern technology meets classic old-fashioned carpentry knowledge. To get the perfect curve we had some roof fins cut with CNC and covered them with a thin sheet of MDF.
Photos: Gilbert McCarragher and Marco Zanta
Project Team Mark Treharne, Chris Masson, Nicholas Barba, Alison Morris
Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:
Damushan Valley Teahouse (2015) by DnA located in Songyang Damushan Tea Valley, Lishui, Zhejiang, China | The Hardt
Damushan Valley Teahouse (2015) by DnA located in Songyang Damushan Tea Valley, Lishui, Zhejiang, China. The tea gardens in the Damushan area of Songyang are situated in a hilly landscape before the backdrop of imposing mountains. The tea plantations extend over the ridges of the hills in smooth sweeps and have shaped the landscape space with their linearly planted bushes for centuries. The Xujing pool was constructed between the tea plantations for irrigation purposes in 1968 and was later equipped with a circular path for pedestrians.
At the edge of the pool, Xu Tiantian designed a teahouse for visitors, from which the view over the pool stages the scenic charms. The new building is embedded linearly between the edge of the pool and the boundary of the site in such a way that it was possible to preserve five large sycamores, which provide the forecourt with shade thanks to their leafy canopy. The difference in the height of the terrain between the path and the edge of the pool is now filled with the new teahouse, which disappears between the trees and the natural topography. The tea pavilion, which was erected using black-dyed concrete, consists of a series of different spaces. The two-story, open main room has a skylight and a glass front towards the pool.
The owner here imparts aspects of tea culture and a contemporary form of the tradition that also attracts interest in urban centers. Connected to the main room are spaces for private tea ceremonies. At the periphery follows the meditation room, through whose round opening, the sunlight reflected by the surface of the water enlivens the interior space. Small courtyards and views, which raise awareness of both the landscape and aesthetic phenomena of nature, interrupt the sequence of spaces. The building itself is so well embedded in the landscape situation that the spectacular view first becomes apparent from the interior: the pool in the foreground serves as a mirror for the tea garden and the mountain scenery in the background.
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates. So far I think I've managed to send one super important newsletter out, in total. So if you're worried about spam, don't trip. Feel free to lurk in the shadows too. Either way, I'll still have mad love for you 🖤