Aiming for a 'space in harmony with nature'
Okazaki City, where the project is located, is known as the 'city of stone' and is one of Japanese 'three major stone producing areas' along with Aji and Makabe. The city has developed as a 'stone town' with a history of more than 400 years, starting with the development of the castle town, where high-quality granite (Usu Stone) was extracted, and later flourished as a local industry in the fields of tombstones, stone lanterns and sculptures.
When I visited the quarry, I found that the stones had been quarried and left for many years, and moss-covered stones were scattered all over the mountain. The project started with the idea of recreating this mountain landscape, which has a time-honoured character, on the site.
The site is located in a residential area about 15 minutes' drive from the quarry. The road is tangential to the south, with a green belt of neighbouring land to the north and a characteristic 'line of sight' through to the primary schools. In order to make use of this 'line of sight', I thought it necessary to create a 'transparent space', which has been created by Japanese architectural space.
First, a courtyard was placed in the centre of the site, and then the Outer space, Half-Outer space, Half-Inner space and Inner space were arranged around the courtyard in a clockwise direction. Each of these spaces is a 'transparent space' that gradually transitions from the the landscaping to the architecture, with a composition that gradually transitions from the streetscape to the houses. In particular, the 'Half-outside space' and 'Half-inside space' create an ambiguous area and play an important role in 'gently connecting the landscaping and the architecture'.
Rough & raw materials with a sense of life were selected to create a seamless connection between the landscaping and the architecture. In addition, it was necessary to 'meticulously construct' a simple structure where the landscaping meets the architecture, so that it feels as if there is 'no boundary with nature'. Instead of drawing many detailed drawings, I tried to surrender to the 'energy of the craftsman', who used the raw materials which has no human intervention and created the work through trial and error on the spot.
When we sit on the stone bench connecting the landscaping and the architecture, 'gentle sunlight filtering through the trees' and 'soft shadows' pour in.
The landscape is full of graceful rustling branches and leaves, birds chirping in their water bowls, and trees blossoming.
A space in harmony with nature, where everything melts into our physical sensation.
I believe that we live in an age in which we need to regenerate the freshness of the space obtained through the five senses, which cannot be achieved simply by thinking logically.