Japanese architects kyoko ikuta architecture laboratory (kyoko ikuta) and ozeki architects & associates (katsuyuki ozeki) recently completed ‘forest bath’, a single-storey summer home in nagano, japan. It’s located on a flat site and thus doesn’t have the usual sweeping vistas or high vantage points we think of with summer houses. Instead this gem of a design carves out a wedge into the site and integrates a triangular plane into the structure’s form drawing the eye subtly upwards to the canopy and the sky.
This relatively low home is surrounded by tall larch trees, and creates its own presence in the forest with strong geometric forms and stark white paint job. This wedge has a dramatic void removed which provides transparency to this otherwise solid form. The remaining space within this void acts as a private courtyard that opens up to the surrounding trees at an upwards trajectory. A large strip of glazing creates the illusion of a floating roof. Floor to ceiling windows provide a huge amount of natural light to the interior. The interior is as ruthless as the exterior and won’t be to everyones taste but you can’t deny the commitment to the concept .
Japan is one of my favorite places to go for food, skiing, Architecture and culture……because it is so different and they have such an amazing capacity to commit 110% to an idea or concept when they decide to. Whether it is in architecture, like this, or in their fantastic way they hold on to traditions or just committing 150% to a Karaoke song. You can never doubt it and for that I think they contribute hugely to our society of wanting to please everyone all of the time.
images © tomohiro sakashita