Project: Symbiotic House
Architects: R.E.A.D. & Architects
MEP Engineer: Chiku Engineering Consultants
Structural Engineer: TS Structural Design(Taketo Sato)
Gardener: Nishimura Garden Craft (Naoki Nishimura)
Contractor: Manufacture & Atelier Ichikawa
Location: Karuizawa-machi, Nagano, Japan
Total floor area: 227m2
Photo Credits: Masaya Yoshimura, Copist
Text by R.E.A.D. & Architects
A villa project for a couple who finished their work to restart a new life in the area of Minami-Karuizawa. The Symbiotic house is based on the premise that the couple will spend the summer and weekends, the family and guests will gather, function as the final residence of the couple, and then pass it on to the next generation. What is a life after retirement in “the 100-year life”? Taking inspiration from the ancient Japanese way of life of “Symbiosis,” we thought of a house that snuggles up to the couple’s life.
The planned site is on a corner surrounded by fir trees with a view of Mt. Asama. We wanted to make use of the surrounding environment unique to Karuizawa and the long site shape. At the same time as creating a landscape that is unique to Karuizawa, we wanted to create a living environment surrounded by seasonal gardens that appear to change as walking through the building.
First, along the long site shape, we arranged two buildings, “the Main building” where the couple lives and “the Guest wing” where the guests spend, and the corridor connects them. Next, we placed several gardens with different landscapes facing the corridor and the windows of the rooms. The facade has two sloping large concrete roofs that harmonize with the surrounding mountains, and the interior of the concrete roof is a spacious space with a high ceiling that can maintain a proper sense of distance between the couple. For each part of the building, we used natural materials that have become familiar with the surrounding landscape over the years, and hardware handmade by craftsmen. It is a setting that allows them to feel that you are living with nature and the passage of time in their daily life.