Architect in ChargeTaku Sakaushi
Assistant ArchitectHirotoshi Takeuchi
Structural EngineerYoshiharu Kanebako
Text description provided by the architects. This is a vacation home project in Karuizawa. The project site sits on the south of Karuizawa train station, its north side borders on a local street, and the other sides are bounded by the neighbors’ properties. Before the project started, there was a good view of a neighbor’s villa to the east. A villa in the south was almost hidden behind the trees. No building had yet been built on the west side. An important request from the client was to keep the surrounding buildings out of sight from his home as much as possible. After examinations of numerous alternative designs, the finished building has a megaphone shape, with its opening facing toward the south.
One of the reasons to have chosen this shape has a lot to do with the consideration to the view from the home, as mentioned above. As a matter of fact, from the beginning, I wanted to investigate a tunnel-like shape with an entrance to the north and the opening to the south.
Architecture is an immovable, inorganic object fixed to the ground. It is different from organic matters such as plants and human bodies, or even from inorganic objects that are movable, such as a piece of furniture. The difference between them are similar to that between a recorded image and a live image. Live images are fresher, as they constantly change. I wanted my architectural works to maintain this freshness, and this idea lead me to regard architecture as a frame that frames the scenery, residents, or furniture, as live images. This is what I wrote in a book titled Architecture as Frame about six years ago.
In the process of developing ideas about architecture as frame, I was influenced by sculptures, paintings, and novels in which I sensed similar motifs. One of them was a novel by Haruki Murakami. In his early works, stories developed inside his closed world, but in later novels, various holes were created in his world to establish connections with other worlds. A symbolic case is a well in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. It functions as a transporter, with which the main character moves from the world he lives to a different world. Actually, in this novel, the worlds on both sides have more significance than the well itself.
In this project, I was thinking about creating a big frame – in this case, a tunnel-like structure – that goes from an entrance on the north side with a big roof, to the opening in the south facing greenery. This tunnel is just like the well in Murakami’s novel, a transporter to take the residents to a nature-filled world when they arrive from the city.