Garden Tree House / Hironaka Ogawa & Associates

  • 27 Feb 2013
  • Featured Houses Selected Works
© Daici Ano

Architects: Hironaka Ogawa & Associates
Location: , Japan
Architect In Charge: Hironaka Ogawa
Area: 50.9 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Daici Ano, Courtesy of

© Daici Ano

This is an extension project on a thirty-five year-old house for a daughter and her husband.

Azelkova tree and a Camphor tree stood on the site since the time the main house was build thirty-five years ago.  Removing these trees was one of the design requirements because the new additional building could not be built if these trees remained.  When I received the offer for the project, I thought of various designs before I visited the site for the first time.  However, all my thoughts were blown away as soon as I saw the site in person.

© Daici Ano

The two trees stood there quite strongly. I listen to the stories in detail; the daughter has memories of climbing these trees when she was little.

These trees looked over the family for thirty-five years.  They colored the gardenand grew up with the family.  Therefore, utilizing these trees and creating a new place for the client became the main theme for the design.

© Daici Ano

In detail, I cut thetwo trees with their branches intact.  Then I reduced the water content by smoking and drying them for two weeks.  Thereafter, I placed the trees where they used to stand and used them as main structural columns in the center of the living room, dining room, and kitchen.

© Daici Ano

In order to mimic the way the trees used to stand, I sunk the building addition 70 centimeters down in the ground.  I kept the height of the addition lower than the main house while still maintaining 4 meter ceiling height.

© Daici Ano

By the way, the smoking and drying process was done at a kiln within Kagawa prefecture.  These two trees returned to the site without ever leaving the prefecture.

The client asked a Shinto priest at the nearby shrine to remove evil when the trees were cut.  Nobody would go that far without a love and attachment to these trees.

© Daici Ano

When this house is demolished and another new building constructed by a descendant of the client hundreds of years from now, surely these two trees will be reused in some kind of form.

Cite: "Garden Tree House / Hironaka Ogawa & Associates" 27 Feb 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 17 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down +6

    This project makes my soul happy!

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Taking the strength of the tree trunks and use them as structure. Very smart solution but also tells the users a glimpse of memories.

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