Printer Friendly
The Free Library
23,375,127 articles and books


Country life: tumbling down a precipitous cliffside site, this compact country house makes highly resourceful use of space.

Based in Tokyo, the two partners in Atelier Bow-Wow, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima, have made their name with a series of small houses that inventively exploit unpromising or marginalised urban conditions. This work both responds to and feeds a fascination with the evolving character of Tokyo, and their pop expressionist survey of the city's hybrid buildings (AR October 2001) has become a cult classic in its analysis of how architecture is obliged to mutate and improvise in unexpected ways under economic, functional and cultural pressures.

This more recent house on the Izu Peninsula marks a temporary break with mining the fertile seams of Toyko's quixotic urban geology. Weary of city life, Bow-Wow's client wanted to uproot from Tokyo and enjoy the space and light of a coastal idyll. Spread over a series of vertiginous terraces on the edge of a former tangerine plantation, the exposed cliffside site is the antithesis of the cramped slivers of leftover urban space that are Bow-Wow's more usual milieu, but their response to context still is as provocatively inventive.

Part pier, viewing platform, studio and greenhouse, the house is simultaneously part of the landscape while also acting as a vantage point from which to savour it. Anchored to the narrow terraces, a trio of simple timber and glass volumes tilts and slides down the hillside. The upper level contains a garage wrapped in a greenhouse-like skin of cheap, ribbed, translucent polycarbonate sheeting. From here the only way is down, first to the main living volume that thrusts out from the hillside like a pier, and then to a large studio that runs parallel with the lowest terrace. Enclosed by hefty stone retaining walls, the terraces are transformed into strips of garden, with horticultural tools neatly stashed in a storage area underneath the studio.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Using space resourcefully is a recurring theme of the project. The kitchen is tucked into the rear of the living space (under the garage) and sleeping platforms are ingeniously compacted into broad landings on the stair linking the living space and studio. The flat roofs of both volumes are also connected to form an artificial topography of decks and terraces enclosed by precariously minimal balustrading. Interior space flows seamlessly into exterior space, unified by timber decking which plays up the dwelling's functional and vaguely nautical spirit. Light washes voluptuously through full-height glazing and everywhere you look there are Master of the Universe views over Suruga Bay.

Given Bow-Wow's track record of getting down and dirty in the city, you slightly wonder if all this sudden rustic freedom might have a paralysing effect on their creativity--after all, constraints provide something to kick against. However, prior to this project they had designed a couple of rural holiday homes, so had some experience of setting small buildings in big landscapes. And here, paradoxically, there are also challenging physical conditions in the steepness of the site and the narrowness of the terraces, that prompt the architects to draw on and refine the experience of working in Tokyo. Bow-Wow's latest country house still has an urban edge.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
COPYRIGHT 2005 EMAP Architecture
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 Reader Opinion

Title:

Comment:



 

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Slessor, Catherine
Publication:The Architectural Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2005
Words:537
Previous Article:Parallel lives: by building this simple new house, Tezuka Architects have given two homes the shared benefit of a unique family garden; a rare treat...
Next Article:Attic light: through the careful distortion of familiar forms, Jun Aoki's latest Tokyo house makes the ordinary extraordinary.
Topics:



Related Articles
Creative destruction: New York City's key to growth.
RIBA Worldwide Awards 2004.
On the waterfront: these sleekly industrial metal containers sit lightly on the Oporto quayside.
Cliff hanger: with land at a premium price, creative architects and daring clients need to lead the way. Shuhei Endo edges ahead in Kobe.
Emerging Architecture: the AR's annual survey of youthful global architectural activity manifests great diversity and invention.
The artist within: from pigsty to showroom, this little historic structure is cleverly reborn.
Clifftop monolith: poised on a cliff, this simple concrete house boldly confronts nature and the elements.
Adding colour to the city: responding to different histories in a Victorian city required boldness, not reticence, to complement the existing.
Bijou box: this prototype for an easily transportable and economical house shows that small can be beautiful.
New Urbanism may be answer to Garden State housing.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters