|Design, Interior Design
|FORM / Kouichi Kimura Architects
Japanese architect Kouichi Kimura is known for the cubist rigor of his minimalist yet elaborately designed houses and the latest project from his Shiga-based practice FORM/Kouichi Kimura Architects is no exception. Located in a suburban area in Japan’s Shiga prefecture, where the urban fabric meets grassy fields and cherry tree groves, the two-storey family house was designed with views and light in mind as much as functionality and privacy.
In contrast to the neighbouring pitched-roofed, timber-clad houses, the residence that Kimura has designed adopts a stacked-box formation of corrugated steel, black-coated steel and grey mortar, its solid exterior punctured by differently shaped and sized rectilinear windows. Far from whimsical, the house’s cubist geometry is informed by the internal layout and the exterior services – the cantilevered upper-floor volume, for example, creates a covered entrance porch – while the seemingly randomly placed windows have been strategically designed to frame specific views for each room.
On the ground floor, a spacious entrance hall, which can double as a small shop per the owners’ requirements, receives plenty of daylight from a large street-facing window that looks out onto the cherry trees lining the street and a water stream bubbling beyond, while the master bedroom at the back of the house enjoys privacy and tranquillity. The upper floor houses the children’s two bedrooms as well as an open-plan living, dining and kitchen space that extends across the length of the house, with a large view-framing window on either side providing generous amounts of natural light. In combination with a skylight illuminating the staircase, smaller, frosted-glass windows on the side of the house, and a predominantly white colour palette, the space is bright and airy, while a variety of ceiling heights that echo the building’s cubist massing imbue it with sculptural playfulness.
The interior design of the house is underpinned by a minimalist aesthetic of muted colours, built-in furniture and uncluttered surfaces. Darker tones and polished cement floors on the ground floor give way to lighter shades and hardwood floor boards on the first floor, the latter adding warm and texture. Corrugated steel cladding the kitchen counter and wall behind the staircase bring further liveliness into the living room, as do the thoughtfully framed views that adorn the otherwise austere sofa nook and monastic dining area. With cherry trees taking centre stage in both views, in effect the occupants of this house have a front seat view overlooking nature in each and every season.