The team at Kazunori Fujimoto Architects have returned with another masterfully minimal concrete dwelling in Japan. House in Mukainada is located on the top of a former cape, which has a 20 metres height difference from the sea level and overlooks Hiroshima Bay.
The striking coastline once reached the foot of this cape, but after the land reclamation, the surrounding landscape has gradually changed its appearance. The mountain behind was developed as a new residential area, but only this site remains as it used to be.
A large, fort-like house emerges from a sea of green with thick walls that provide a sense of security against the possibility of natural disasters. Still, the wide rooftop area provides a clear sense of spaciousness and from the generous proportions of interior spaces. The materiality and the meaning of presence typical of this type of architecture, when inserted into nature, lead it to change the surrounding landscape and elevate it to a new sense of beauty.
As an architect, I intended to create a living environment that could be perceived as its Genius loci without being influenced by new residential areas’ spatial characteristics. The slanted wall is 1.3 metres thick at the bottom. I wanted to make this wall with a non-reinforced concrete structure, like a gravity-type retaining wall, to give the shape and design rationality.
Kazunori Fujimoto continues to explain that the fort was used as a metaphor, but the purpose was not the shape of the fort itself. He claims the possibilities of architecture will expand by bringing the potential of ruins and civil engineering structures into architecture. New landscapes and living environments, interwoven with such architecture and nature, are derived from the cape’s topography.
There is no denying that the unique brutalist form of House in Mukainada is the protagonist of this project. This is no ordinary structure, yet multiple design features are consistent with Kazunori Fujimoto’s work. The interior flow and layout, use of natural lighting, and large open spaces are common elements that make this architecture distinctive.