Text description provided by the architects. The project NDA (PLANTER) is located on top of a steep slope in "Yamate Bluff", Yokohama, Japan. This area offers panoramic views over the city and the Mount Fuji. In the vicinity there is a small but beautiful park that has many preserved houses and is popular among tourists.
Since I believe that building design should respect and challenge the potential of an area and the direct environment, the NDA project is deeply connected to the "Yamate Bluff Load" characteristics.
The "Yamate Bluff Load" is an area featuring many retaining walls. The texture and the facades' overall appearance is inspired by this particularity.
Reducing the standard size of the concrete panels affected the amount of mortar joints, thus creating a somehow more busy pattern. Another intention was to accentuate the "handmade feel" with a rich variety of concrete hues and a random layout of the concrete panels.
Several plywood colors were used for the molds in order to "transfer" the diversity of the hues onto the concrete panels. This technique could be considered as a natural counterpart of the application of lye.
In addition the project's goal was to combine the conflicting client's requests : offering large openings to enjoy the magnificent views, while having some privacy from neighbours. The building is a wrapped cube where the only necessary voids are cut off to allow light and air to flow inside.A sense of openness is given thanks to the big outdoor terraces. The building itself is almost like a planter. . . The layout of the openings follows a vertical and horizontal imaginary grid. The cutouts of the facade welcome "plants gardens" on each floor.
Time alters things, seasons weather stones. Architecture is a part of that natural process. Nevertheless I am convinced that architecture can survive for a long time and co-exist with the surrounding environment.