A tree-filled courtyard is glimpsed through the shimmering glass-brick facade of this house in Hiroshima, designed by Japanese architect Hiroshi Nakamura .
Architect: Yuko Nagayama & Associates, Tokyo, Japan
Location: 1-2-19 Toyo-Boulevard 102 Kaigandori, Chuo-Ward, Kobe, Japan
Client: Au gré du vent Ltd., Kobe
Landscape architect: Toshiya Ogino, Osaka
Usable spance: 144 m²
The foothills of Mount Rokko on Japan’s Honshu island reach down like lava flows towards Kobe, seemingly pushing the city to the shores of the sea. While the densely wooded, 931-metre-high mountain serves as a local recreation area, it is barely discernible in the street canyons of the city. Thus when the architect Yuko Nagayama and the landscape planner Toshiya Ogino were commissioned to design a showroom for the Sisii fashion label not even two kilometres from this landscape, they decided to bring the woods into its interior.
Employees and customers entering the showroom with its integrated office areas take four steps up from the street and immediately find themselves on steel-plate pathways leading between oases of green. The flooring, which is black in colour due to the phosphoric acid with which the steel was galvanised, continues through the interior and in places is folded up towards the ceiling to form partitions, or cut away altogether to reveal sunken spaces where meetings are held or employees are able to work undisturbed.
At this lower level the surface of the flooring is repeated on table tops, while wooden compartments installed beneath the raised floor act as storage space for less decorative but indispensable items such as folders, printers and other office materials. Here and there the steel membrane has the appearance of being punctured by greenery, as if nature were forcing its way through the man-made floor surface with trees, shrubs, ferns and moss growing between lava stones in a complex solution made up of planter troughs, and watering, drainage and ventilation systems.
Zaha Hadid has launched a design for the Sleuk Rith Institute, the office’s first project in Cambodia and its first ever wooden construction. The building, situated in Phnom Penh, will act as a genocide memorial and also provide space for a museum, research centre, graduate school, archive and library focused on the atrocities committed by the former Cambodian regime, Khmer Rouge.
The architectural character of the building was influenced by the grand style of modern Omani palaces, and reflects their outward design features and circulation patterns.
The natural landscape was the inspiration for the nature-based attractions and an earth sheltered structure for the auditorium and conference centre.
The main hotel building consists of three wings to maximize the multi-directional views. The major public spaces are positioned facing the lake and set at two different floor elevations. To enhance the visual relationship between mountains and water, a clear glass bridge was designed to connect the wings. The guestrooms are divided into two layouts, horizontal and vertical, dictated by the view. The overall architectural image presents a natural contemporary style that pursues a harmonious relationship between nature and building.
The climatic appeal of the Batu Wan, with its seasonal rhythms, allowed for the creation of unique features, such as the outdoor fire pits surrounded by built-in seating, roof top lounges for spectacular sunset views and open bathing experiences with views of succulents gardens.