Renowned Japanese architect Kazunori Fujimoto, whose work has been celebrated on numerous occasions by Minimalissimo—including our 2021 photo book, Selection: Architecture—has a distinctive design aesthetic, particularly through the use and manipulation of concrete and geometric forms found throughout his projects.
Kazunori creates minimalist sanctuaries. Dwellings that appear private and monolithic, yet welcome an abundance of wonderfully framed light and nature through over-sized windows. One such dwelling is House in Akitsu. Located on a small peninsula, the project site faces directly towards the beautiful scenery of the Seto Inland Sea. Kazunori explains:
The most interesting challenge for this project was to create a comfortable inside silence combined with a new openness atmosphere. In this plan I set two squares intersecting each other and thought about the well-balanced interaction between the wall structure and the openings.
The moving line inside the house becomes fluid thanks to the use of skipping floors and short stairs that connect the living area with the sleeping rooms.
The use of a polished concrete finish for the living room and the kitchen floor became important in order to give an additional value to the external light. The first floor is slightly buried and its ceiling was set lower rather than the living room in order to achieve a more private and cozy feeling.
It is here that we find a very special concrete spiral staircase—another distinctive characteristic by Kazunori Fujimoto that has almost become a signature of his work. The thickness of the supporting slab becomes invisible to its outer and inner end and it was designed in order to avoid any necessity of a central pillar. It is also the only element of curvature within the space, making it a design staple of the house.
House in Akitsu exemplifies minimal architecture and open-plan living. And although it might not exude comfort in the traditional sense, it does offer an incredible sense of peacefulness that is accentuated not just by the remarkable view and connection to the surrounding natural landscape, but also the use of white space that creates a welcomed silence from the outside world.