Tree-ness House in Toshima, Japan by Akihisa Hirata | Yellowtrace

Tree-ness House in Toshima, Japan by Akihisa Hirata | Yellowtrace

Tree-ness House in Toshima, Japan by Akihisa Hirata | Yellowtrace

Tree-ness House in Toshima, Japan by Akihisa Hirata | Yellowtrace

Tree-ness House in Toshima, Japan by Akihisa Hirata | Yellowtrace

Tree-ness House in Toshima, Japan by Akihisa Hirata | Yellowtrace

Tree-ness House in Toshima, Japan by Akihisa Hirata | Yellowtrace

 

Designed around the physical structure of a tree, this complex house in Toshima-Ku, Tokyo, is the work of Japanese architect, Akihisa Hirata. The fact Hirata has focused on a tree as the template for his design is no surprise. There are thousands of years steeped in Japanese tradition which has paid homage to a profound love of nature’s beauty. This is echoed in the application of architecture, art and spiritual principles. Simplicity. Calm. Beauty.

The desire to connect to the natural world is evident in Japanese architecture through how they address the transitional space between inside and outside. In this case, the elements that make up a tree have been the guiding principles behind Hirata’s layered approach to the building’s structure and its relationship between the interior, the exterior and the street.

“One tree is organically integrated with a combination of parts having different characteristics, such as a trunk, a branch, and a leaf. As with the tree, we tried to create organic architecture that could be formed by a hierarchical combination of different parts such as plants, pleats (as openings) and concrete boxes,” explains Hirata.

 

Tree-ness House in Toshima, Japan by Akihisa Hirata | Yellowtrace

Tree-ness House in Toshima, Japan by Akihisa Hirata | Yellowtrace

Tree-ness House in Toshima, Japan by Akihisa Hirata | Yellowtrace

Tree-ness House in Toshima, Japan by Akihisa Hirata | Yellowtrace

 

The external elevations, transitioning between both the internal and external gallery spaces, are a complex algorithm of three-dimensional forms. Hirata starts with concrete boxes. He finishes with pleats – his reference to the openings within the building such as the windows and doors. A central void is the main trunk of this building, a kind of hollow trunk if you will. Whilst the interior of this trunk is clad in concrete, light pours into it, acting as a vertical lightwell for the rest of the ‘branches’ or boxes that spring from it.

Haikara thinks of the spaces in terms of boxes. Inside the box is the gallery, the living spaces, eating areas and bedrooms, designed to act as calm environments. Outside the box are the external spaces like terraces and gardens. But his overwhelming objective has been to make the interior, the exterior and the street as a three-dimensional experience, interconnected via glass and openings to seamlessly engage all the spaces.

 

Tree-ness House in Toshima, Japan by Akihisa Hirata | Yellowtrace

Tree-ness House in Toshima, Japan by Akihisa Hirata | Yellowtrace

Tree-ness House in Toshima, Japan by Akihisa Hirata | Yellowtrace

Tree-ness House in Toshima, Japan by Akihisa Hirata | Yellowtrace

 

“I intended to create a futuristic and savage architecture that awakens human animal instincts in which the inside and outside are reversed multiple times,” said Hirata.

The final product is a house that reflects the simplicity and minimalism inherent in Japanese architecture. However, it is the application of contemporary materials combined with the implementation of modern spatial requirements that have created a perfect synergy between the traditional and the new.

 

 


[Images courtesy of Akihisa Hirata. Photography by Vincent Hecht.]

 

About The Author

Susanna McArdle

Susanna has a background in Interior Architecture and a passion for writing. Based in Sydney, she has worked both in Asia and Australia designing. An avid writer, it’s hard to know what she prefers more, stringing words together or creating spaces. But one thing she does know, is that she loves doing the both together.

One Response

  1. Kenneth Mason

    Another wonderful display of the use of space and purpose from another culture. We should be aware that many ideas and concepts cannot be imported ‘as they are’ into our culture. But, many ideas are born from these seeds. kapm
    kapm

    Reply

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