SHIGA – When it comes to designing and realising extraordinary dwellings at ordinary costs, Kouichi Kimura, principal of the Japanese firm FORM, is one of your best bets. Eschewing the dematerialised white boxes so prevalent in contemporary residential architecture, he focuses instead on responding closely to the client’s wishes and on creating atmospheres by paying attention to material, colour, light and texture.
His latest project, the Tuneful House, is no different. Located in a ubiquitous Japanese residential neighbourhood in Shiga prefecture, the house strikes an unusual note, through its bold, distinctive form, although the overall scale and colour integrate the unique structure into its surroundings.
It is inside, however, where Kimura reveals his exceptional skill. As one enters the house, a carefully organised palette of material and colour finishes – concrete and wood, greys and whites, as well as subtle level changes – create an introspective, domestic atmosphere. The music space on the ground floor can be sealed off from the bedrooms with sliding doors, readjusting functional, spatial and material relations in this part of the house according to client’s current wishes.
The main living spaces are located upstairs, lit by carefully placed skylights, which flood the inside with light without sacrificing privacy, while also creating subtle reflections from carefully selected, textured materials which comprise the interior. Polished concrete, wooden panelling and grey wooden floors, as well as a slightly raised, carpeted playroom – largely hidden out of sight behind a screen-like concrete wall – all work together in creating a bright, layered space with a strong sense of identity.
Photos Yoshihiro Asada