|Project Name||House for a photographer||Posted in||Residential||Location||
|Architecture Practice||FORM / Kouichi Kimura Architects||Area (sqm)||169,41||Completed||2017|
Located in a low-rising residential neighborhood in Japan's Shiga prefecture, House for a Photographer was conceived by architect Kouichi Kimura of local studio FORM/Kouichi Kimura Architects as a live-in studio of ascetic minimalism and traditional Japanese functionality that cleverly combines the need for abundant daylight with that of privacy.
The exterior, a stacked-box formation of corrugated steel and grey mortar, is solemnly juxtaposed among the pitched-roofed, timber-clad neighboring houses and the Shinto aesthetic of the village shrine on the opposite side of the road. Although its cubic geometry sets the building apart and the light-reflecting galvanized steel cladding enhances its mass, its modest proportions do not make the structure feel out of place.
The austere exterior hides a more nuanced interior where light and shadow star in a dramatic play of chiaroscuro. Upon entering, a dimly lit, narrow passageway leads you to a brightly lit hall, courtesy of a deep-set skylight, which doubles as a gallery for the photographer’s work. From there, another narrow hallway leading to a small wood-lined lounge veers off perpendicularly.
At the center of this L-shape layout is a large space that functions both as studio and as living room where “photo shooting equipment, vintage furniture, musical instrument and artworks are placed here and there”, as the architect explains, “blending in with the space”. With its high ceiling, large window openings and a neutral material palette of smooth polished grey floors and white plaster walls, this space “quietly inspires a feeling of exaltation among ordinary life” but “also plays a role of photogenic shooting location”. A large set of sliding steel shutters giving access to a narrow patio provide even more natural light if required while timber-framed windows set back among a protruding section of the wall create deeper, more dramatic shadows.
Next to the studio, a smaller room, which houses a kitchen and dining area, also acts as a connecting hub with the rest of the house, including the bathroom and the bedroom on an upper floor. Like the studio, all spaces are minimally designed, featuring white and grey plaster as well as floor and wall timber cladding, creating a three-dimensional canvas for light and shadow, which are after all, as Kimura acknowledges, "important to both the photographer and the architect”.