Passage of Landscape in Toyota, Japan is a private home designed by Achitect ihrmk near a terraced paddy field. The clients wanted a home that would allow them to wake up to the peaceful sounds of nature. Functionally, the brief required plenty of storage space to fulfill their daily needs: “I did not want to design unsociable utopia nor a symbol of the scenery; I wanted to create the house which can participate to the flow of natural its environment. Accordingly, I decided to make passages from south to north on the first floor and from east to west on the second floor“, explained architect Ihara Masaki Kayo.
The bottom level accommodates a front room and living area extended by wooden deck and garden. Three gate-shaped frames which compose wall, floor and ceiling are layered in tiers by 650mm (2.13ft) for each direction: “I feel that this house becomes a passage of landscape which can feel difference of light, wind, sound and width of the sky depending on each space”, concluded the architect. A connection to the dining room and the reading zone on the second floor is achieved through the gap of the south side frame. [Photos by: Hiroshi Ueda]
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests