House of Integration / FORM | Kouichi Kimura

© Takumi Ota

Architects: FORM/Kouichi Kimura Architects
Location: Shiga,
Client: Private
Construction Year: 2010
Site Area: 166,21 sqm
Constructed Area: 116,06 sqm
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Takumi Ota

This is the house for a young couple and their child.

The client had a longing for the traditional Japanese folk dwellings, and desired to take advantage of the surrounding bountiful idyll in the new house.

ground floor plan

We planned in the center of the first floor a spacious foyer that functions as a semi-exterior area.

© Takumi Ota

This space, which evokes relation between the DOMA (dirt floor) and ZA (habitable space floor) often seen in the old Japanese folk dwellings, is connected with the couple’s bedroom, child room, bathroom, and stairway to the second floor. It plays a role as the core of the flow line inside the house, and can be used in a variety of ways in accordance with the client’s needs.

© Takumi Ota

The living room, dining room, and kitchen are laid out on the second floor.

We designed so that the line of sight is led by colors and lights when you go upstairs, to the idyllic scenery that spreads outside the opening.

© Takumi Ota

The house, though it may be compact, integrates diversified and productive spaces produced by various materials and colors, in its minimal volume that blends in with the idyll.

Cite: "House of Integration / FORM | Kouichi Kimura" 16 Mar 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 Apr 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=53035>

26 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Arch Daily, seriously. STOP IT! these japanese minimalist-esque houses are like 3rd year design student projects. This is suposed to be a showcase of new ideas, creative material usage, beautiful details, and playful expression…

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I realize this is an example of the culture of design as well as the culture itself… but it is just to sterile for me.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Who tells this people how to do plans? seriously,… there is no distinction between the toilet and the walls. Lines don’t talk by themselves. I think it’s better to draw a scheme with the basic furniture than let it empty and write: LIVING

    Am I wrong if I say that I’m in my second – third year at univertity and I think I could draw better?

    Maybe that’s the thing of minimalist houses, but anyways, I think every single project should be explained by itself and I think this drawings say nothing without the words in bold.

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        Before you actually BUILD your first building you know NOTHING.

        This is not University – nobody really cares if you draw a bed in the bedroom etc.

        These plans are enough to see what’s going on and every architect fills the space with furniture just by understanding the proportions of the room.

        Your criticism tells more about your lack of experience in the field than about this office – and believe me, looking at the quite clean details and interiors (I’m not touching the concept) there had to be quite a lot of nice technical drawings that would satisfy your drawing-needs.

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        From what you’ve said (“yeah”) I understand that proportions are not important enough to be shown in this project?! Then why to draw everything in the bathroom and let the rest half-naked? Don’t tell me it’s because they don’t want to set a layout because it’s up to the owners because I don’t believe that, if they wanted that they shouldn’t have writen the “names” of the rooms.

        I’m not saying it’s not a good project, I’m saying that it’s a pity that they don’t want to be too expressive. I actually like the project, stop attacking me as if I had a better project, which I perfectly know I don’t

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Even when the design is mediocre, which I ain’t stating, you have to value the fact that the architects got it built. Anavic, if you are that super designer, try to get your idea relialised!

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        I know I don’t know a thing.

        I’m not saying I could have made it better. I’m just saying that from what I’ve seen architects tend to forget about basic things they learn at university.

        Everything is important, the plans included. I don’t now the translation but le corbusier said: “la planta es el generador de todo”.And I think that they could have put more effort on it’s appearance. It sometimes feels like: now that I’m an architect I can do things my own way and nobody will dare to criticise me.

        I don’t like it when people takes things for granted.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    why don’t we get a forum, where all the critics on this website can upload their excellent work?
    i am sure, all we will get is some commercial average designs to a market of average u.s. citizens living in average u.s. suburbs…
    guys, stop trying to make youself better by just shitting around from the dark – just present something great on this website, and the world will be a better place!

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    WOW! finally a design that proves that one can be too japanessey with a design. I thought this day would never come.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Try as I may I can’t see how this project deserves the harsh criticisms that it has garnered so far. And it is not the responsibility of ArchDaily to judge these projects and deem which are worthy of our time and which are not – that is for you to decide. The plans, while admittedly low contrast, read just fine to me. I don’t see how the spaces are particularly overly-Japonesque. What I see is a well articulated and efficient allotment of space to suit the needs of a small family. Everything appears to be lovingly and carefully considered and detailed. The color palette is refreshingly saturated relative to the all white interior it could have been. Maybe the natural lighting could have been better but privacy could have been an issue. It seems that the clients got the house they wanted.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    While I personally don’t think the severity of these criticisms are warranted, I do find it odd that a project that champions itself on integration is so formally and contextually isolated from its environment. The description speaks to the integration of the interior volumes but it is quite sterile and stand-offish from the exterior.

    Aside from that, I think its important that architecture leaves something open for interpretation. Architecture should not be 100% definable or discernible at first blush and if it is, there is a good chance you only have a building. Building is not equal to architecture…

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      “I do find it odd that a project that champions itself on integration is so formally and contextually isolated from its environment”
      homes should reflect the people living in them, some of us are actually like the above extracted, detail~quote from Ballista.

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        There is no argument that homes should reflect those living within…from an architectural perspective, however, the expression of these personalities should not become a disruption to the existing EXTERIOR fabric. There are a slew of architectural approaches and techniques that would allow for the level of privacy without fragmenting the context. Homes are an expression, definitely…but if everyone’s individual expression(s) were translated to architectural form, then there would be no discernible context.

        A nice enough project; just hesitant to buy into the project as “integrative”. Cheers!

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        @Ballista Magazine. if the existing “exterior fabric” you mention is akin to to the popularisation of the extended family, then from a balanced perspective, the nuclear family ie, interior integration as a modern represention on a house of integration form, as by Kouichi Kimura, ought to be also given as much gravitas.
        However, in terms of the meanings of integration, we need to address it s context here, in both an internal and external sense. There should be scope for an external house of integration, by way of developing such needs as the modern (not postmodern) family moves from pre school/pre exterior activity and needs due to insular aspects of early parenthood, through to a natural progression that integrates with the exterior fabric. Of course there are many variables, but babies and small children really only require an environment that inches rather than morphs from that of the womb, at the very least until walking the talk age.
        A postmodern family of course would skip completely interior integration, but of course, thereto are variables.
        It is my opinion that these modern houses of integration form, encourage a more spiritual life within the context of their current, existing, exterior fabric.

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Its been long since the last project of Form-Kimura. I usually Check their website time to time to see new postings. But not till now.
    I rate this as a good one. very typical of their style. I notice they have tried some variations like, Non-glossy floor, Textured wall finish and yes, red color is first time, i think, on their floors.
    Expect more new from their work. Their work is always at this scale. I am big Fan. Keep up the good work ‘Arch daily’

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    A bit sterile, like someone mentioned.. There’s absolutely no integration with the exterior or surroundings.. I am getting really bored with this kind of work.. way too boring..

  10. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    it’s a strange house:
    - when I’m looking at exterior, I see some kind house from Middle East (turkiye, syria, iraq and etc.);
    - when I’m looking at the interior, it looks like european 70th “modern” architecture solutions.

    and a bit strange, when if your quests wants to get to the house living room, they must go through your masters bedroom :-) (this intimate area is too much open).

    well, anyway this house has only a little japanese spirit. it’s sad a bit..

  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    @arnold:

    that is funny as u mention this house has just a bit japanese spirit after u are telling the reader the strangeness about the floor plan.

    well, study the original japanese house, then u will see that this house has more japanese spirit as u are thinking (incl. the facade).

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    @arnold; just forgot…………….. beside this u also should study to read a floor plan first (especially how you have to read a staircase). of course nobody has to cross here a bedroom first.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      I’m sorry but you’re wrong. You do have to cross the bedroom first.
      The “public” area is upstairs and although you don’t literally cross the bedroom zone it’s all opened. And even worse, the first thing you see is the toilet sink, a curtain does not make the function of a door to me.
      I’m not criticising their privacity preferences, I just say what it is and what it looks like in the floor plan.

      I don’t know how do you read floor plans btw

  13. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Kimbo has a point…wonder where the humans are…have noted that the year of construction (completion?) is 2010…that would mean that the house has not been lived in or broken in yet?…would be interesting to see what the spaces look like after the young couple and their child have lived in it for a while ( cutlery, paintings on the wall, artifacts,sculptures, the child morphing into a teenager, then into a young adult, favourite rocking chair and such). am not sure if the photographs do justice to the project…it comes through as a beautiful piece of sculpture.the house was designed to meet the requirements of the family so i guess one can not deny that it is a reflection of their tastes…what is their lifestyle?…what kind of a relationship do they have with their child…is it formal?…do they not let their hair down after work or on weekends?…perhaps eventually the spaces will fuse with the spirit of the family and reflect in a more complete manner the people living in it…the family will humanise it!…am curious.

  14. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    E ai pessoal, apenas me alertei a respeito do seu weblog por Google, e pensei que ele e de fato informativo.So elogios pela ideia de nos agraciar esse trabalho repleto de primeira linha.Ate logo aos parceiros, nos comunicamos outra hora.TCHAU

  15. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Ando-sensei says that travel is the most important aspect of an architect’s education, and I have to agree. You must learn how others live to really live yourself.
    Arnold noticed something important, the similarity of middle eastern traditional architecture, the courtyard house. The home is very closed to the outside, and then there are varying degrees of privacy inside. That is very deeply ingrained in japanese culture. Parents and children often sleep in the same room, and often take baths together. Whole families go to neighbourhood bathhouses. So why build solid walls and doors between rooms. What looks like a bedroom you walk through to get somewhere else is, to a japanese, clearly three separete spaces. The idyllic surroundings are integrated not by physically opening the house to them but by incorporating elements of traditional farm houses, the earthen wall texture, the low partitions surrounding the kitchen elements. It is a kind of architectural poetry. If you don’t recognise the references, it really is lost in translation. You need to study the old farm houses, not the urban townhouse or palace, to get it. You need to imagine how it was like to live in those houses as well.

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