The site is situated in an area where land costs are among the highest in Tokyo.The area is typically cluttered, like most residential areas in downtown Tokyo.It is hard to say that quality of living environment deserves the price of land.
I felt that creating a better living environment was a top priority upon squeezing in yet another house into this neighborhood.What came to my mind were the two classic ‘Glass Houses’ by Mies and Philip Johnson.The sense of freedom and openness that makes us want to walk naked inside these houses surely owes to the transparency of the glass itself, but it is the fact that the buildings are surrounded by a pleasant environment –the forest– that counts the most.Since ‘the forest’ itself already provides a comfortable living environment, it is left for the architecture to separate internal to external atmospheres with thin, transparent membranes.They clealy demonstrate that as long as there is an environment suitable for living, a ‘house’ is no more necessary.
What I looked to create here was a presence that would replace this ‘forest’.
More precisely, I attempted to generate a quality living environment by placing two large, swirled belt-shaped surfaces on the premises.The pair consists of self-standing walls measuring 7.5 m and 5 m high respectively, made of lace-like steel 3 mm thick that filters light like sunshine through foliage, with holes punched out in a floral pattern depicting cherry blossoms, a traditional Ise paper stencil pattern.
As we make our way into the abstracted forest of cherry blossoms, we are greeted by an ‘environment filled with “anticipation” for a living comfort.’ There, nothing can be found that suggests a ‘setup’ of a ‘house‘. The place is a pure ‘living environment’ and is neither a symbol called ‘house’ nor a ‘residential area’.
Title: Sakura house
Architects: Masahiro Harada , Mao Harada / MOUNT FUJI ARCHITECTS STUDIO
Function: Private Residence
Total floor area:279.58m2
Structural system: reinforced concrete partly steel frame , stainless panel
Major materials: stainless panel, mortal, exterior; white mortal, chestnut flooring, interior