Asher 6:14 pm 8:47 pm

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.


© Daici Ano



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Pergola (2014) by APOLLO Architects & Associates

Pergola (2014) by APOLLO Architects & Associates

Asher 7:50 am 8:48 pm

Located in Sakura-ku, Japan, Pergola (2014) by APOLLO Architects & Associates | The Hardt


Located in Sakura-ku, Japan, Pergola (2014) by APOLLO Architects & Associates. The site is situated at the back of a parking lot rented out on a monthly basis, and we decided to provide no openings on the exterior façades to protect privacy. The house has a simple L-shaped plan, built around a covered entrance courtyard in the center, to decrease the construction cost. The covered courtyard, also used as an entrance approach, serves as an intermediate space between inside and outside. The main bedroom, located next to the entrance on the first floor, is a small private room with a sense of calmness. On the contrary, the children’s room is an open space located next to the courtyard, which can be appropriately adjusted and subdivided according to their growth. Skeleton stairs, which can also be appreciated as an art piece, are located in front of the main entrance, leading to the second floor. The second floor is comprised of an open space without partitions. Space is defined by the sequence of beautifully exposed wood ceiling rafters constituting the horizontal ceiling. The wood rafters extend outside and constitute a pergola above the entrance courtyard, integrating the interior and exterior spaces. The strip skylight window is located on the second-floor ceiling and one can enjoy the magnificent effect of natural light and shadow on the wall. LED lamps are embedded between the rafters, illuminating SPF structural members and ceiling panels and creating a dramatic gradation of light. The exterior pergola is lit up from below, creating a floating feeling at night.



© Masao Nishikawa




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House Set On The Valley Floor (2014) by Jørgensen Design

House Set On The Valley Floor (2014) by Jørgensen Design

Asher 2:21 am 8:49 pm

House Set On The Valley Floor (2014) by Jørgensen Design located in California, USA | The Hardt

House Set On The Valley Floor (2014) by Jørgensen Design located in California, USA. Set within the vineyards and close to the center of town, the site for the house is a large plot of land dotted with full-grown trees and vineyards. The project consists of two houses connected by the glass. Each house is protected from a busy road with two ‘L’ Shaped walls – one is stone and one is cedar. A number of pieces behind these walls are arranged together around courtyards and terraces. In turn giving rise to a sequence of individual gardens, each with their own individual ambiance – gardens set among other limitless gardens. A system of slender spaces acts like paths connecting the gardens, courtyards, and interior spaces, each embracing and respecting the landscape.




The entrance garden is conceived as a porch-like atrium which leads to a solid redwood door crafted from the only tree removed from the site. This door opens to a small glass foyer which connects the two main walls of the house. To one side is an interior gateway through a cedar wall and to the other side is a portal through a thick stone wall. The gateway opens to a garden and guestrooms and the portal opens onto the family art collection and main house. The main house opens to vineyards on the valley floor with 270-degree views of the surrounding Mayacamas Mountains, Mt. St. Helena, and Stags Leap beyond. Guestrooms are through the cedar gateway and open to the southern views of vineyards, Stone Mountain, Mt. Vedeer and the city nearby. Meanwhile, the utility areas are hidden away in front with easy access while increasing the buffer between the house and busy road and the house.


Large eaves create both a place to enjoy the outdoors all year round and protection from the summer sun while letting in the right amount of winter sun deep into the house. The envelope of the house enhances the control of the site while providing a sense of privacy and protection while juxtaposed with large openings to the surrounding landscape. The materialization of this project reflects its rural setting while softening its urban attributes of shelter in front and massive openings behind those urban attributes and human nature.


© Joe Fletcher Photography


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House B + B (2014) by Studio MK27 – Marcio Kogan + Renata Furlanetto + Architects

House B + B (2014) by Studio MK27 – Marcio Kogan + Renata Furlanetto + Architects

Asher 2:51 am 8:50 pm

House B + B (2014) by Studio MK27 – Marcio Kogan + Renata Furlanetto + Architects Gallery located in Brazil | The Hardt


House B + B (2014) by Studio MK27 – Marcio Kogan + Renata Furlanetto + Architects Gallery located in Brazil. The arrival at Casa B + B – access to the social area – takes place through an architectural route, by an open ramp, located in the east portion of the construction. This space is protected laterally by concrete elements that create surprising light effects and end up acting as protection for weather inclement weather. It is an interstitial space between the protected interior of the building and the uncovered garden. The ramp, long and smooth, extends this transition between the interior and exterior, creating a present feeling of change of environment. This solution was widely used by Brazilian modernism, which consecrated the radical use of ramps as a form of vertical circulation by reaffirming Corbusian precepts on the architectural promenade. There is, purposely, a lack of definition about the nature of this space: internal or external?


The reference to modernism is also in the fence of leaked elements, consecrated from the 1930s in Brazil, as a solution to be reproduced in large scale, very suitable for the tropical climate since it allows shading without blocking the fresh wind. The social area of the house creates a sense of welcome and comfort, in an open space, without any structural interference to the layout of furniture. A sliding door of 3.5m allows the kitchen to be fully integrated into the living space of the dining room. The food preparation stand is in front of a window that faces the ramp, receiving the light built, filtered by the leaked elements. So the kitchen is made as an illuminated space and pleasant stay.


Unlike the usual, the rooms are on the first floor – in direct relation to the garden – and can also be accessed internally via a staircase connected to the upper room. Wood elements in the facade of this floor allow for control of the sun internally, and thus optimum thermal performance. The use of raw materials, such as apparent concrete and wood, lends a living aspect to the residence, constantly changing through time. The architecture of Casa B + B, therefore, sought to create a cozy, cozy space, an intimate house for both the daily life of the residents and receptions with friends in small social gatherings.
© Fernando Guerra | FG + SG


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Lavaflow 5 (2013) by Craig Steely Architecture

Lavaflow 5 (2013) by Craig Steely Architecture

Asher 6:04 am 8:51 pm

Lavaflow 5 (2013) by Craig Steely Architecture located in Hawaii County | The Hardt





Lavaflow 5 (2013) by Craig Steely Architecture located in Hawaii County. The 2,800 ft² (260 m²) house is situated on thirty acres of remote pasture, Lavaflow 5 frames the sea and sky with structure and line. The slender steel frame supports walls of varying opacity; from nothing to glass, to screen, to solid – creating a laminate of materials tempering the expansive view overlooking the Hamakua coastline on the eastern slope of Mauna Kea on Hawaii’s Big Island. The remoteness of the site, our desire for large open expanses, and a commitment to build sustainability led us to investigate prefabrication in steel as a method of construction. We began by researching standard prefabrication systems but all that was available seemed clumsy and lacking the refinement we desired. So working closely with our structural engineer, we designed and developed a bolt together a structural system based on 8”x8” wide flange beams that allowed for long spans of steel while keeping the elegance of scale we had envisioned.




The frame was fabricated in San Francisco by a shop that usually focuses on small-scale architectural steelwork. They built this frame to the tolerances they usually apply to their staircases. An off-the-shelf corrugated self-supporting roof system was integrated into the structural engineering and delivered to the site along with the steel frame. It took five days to erect the steel frame and roof. Lavaflow 5 sits at the top of the property protected from the strong winds that are a constant on this side of the island. The house is long and thin with all rooms looking north towards the ocean. Circulation is on the south side and sun is mitigated along this extended hall with an epoxy resin screen – a product usually used for industrial decking. The house is elevated above the site and entered across a 50’x 50’ reflecting pond.



The narrow plan of the house provides passive cooling through cross ventilation allowing for the elimination of mechanical air conditioning. The industrial screen filters the sunlight creating a consistent and diffused interior light quality throughout the day. Another sustainable feature includes a solar heating system for all domestic hot water.  This decidedly simple building of steel, concrete, and glass provides the essential requirements for living while focusing attention on living experientially in Hawaii’s dynamic environment.


© Bruce Damonte




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