Located in the suburbs of Tokyo, the villa stands in the forest of Karuizawa, where the client who leads a busy life in Tokyo relaxes and spends a precious time with his family or guests. A request of the client was that the external appearance of the villa should not reveal its interior space. It sounded quite reasonable as it could deeply impress his guests. Meanwhile the existing site was felt as if it brings a similar temporal nature beyond the revelation as he requested, while we were wandering in the surrounding woods located on the slope of the mountain. Thus it was expected that the villa would not only serve as a base to wander the woods, but afford the visitors an experience of time full of unexpected events as in the woods.
Overlooked from above, undulating roof made of reinforced concrete appears to float in the middle of the slope. Its organic silhouette overlapping with mountains behind is gradually transformed as the visitors walk down the winding approach path, and eventually turns into an entrance arch covering them. The roof covering the car parks is accessible from the top of the sloped ground, on which they can enjoy ‘hiking’ instantly. With the undulation of the ceiling exactly reflected from the roof, ‘wanderings’ can be also experienced inside the villa as in the surrounding woods. The topography of the site introduced as the wavy steps like terraced rice-fields, provides the various fields of visions for visitors. As they go down the steps from the entrance, passing through the space between trunk-like curved walls, and get closer to the living, the ceiling becomes higher and more rounded, and carries the greater scenery of far-off mountains. Each of interior ‘trunk’ has a niche in various scale to accommodate book shelves, kitchen or fireplace. Browsing through the book shelves on the way to the bathroom, or cooking at kitchen and turning the eyes towards the scenery of mountains, etc; we are afforded by niches unconscious behaviors and variety in rhythm of daily life.
The improvisational wanderings inside and outside the villa carry an active daily life where we can listen to polyphony equivalently played around, without orienting our bodies to a particular center. The difference caused between the undulating roof and mountains, niches in various scale, or villa and woods, constantly recurs and realizes a creative environment afresh as in counterpoint.
TYPE: Residence/ SIZE: 310 sqm/ STRUCTURE: Reinforced Concrete/ Location: Nagano, Japan/ YEAR: 2008/ PHOTO: Satoshi Asakawa (1,2,5,11), Alessio Guarino (6,9,10,12)