- Toshiyuki Yano
Kadogawa House resides modestly in the sparse neighbourhood located in Higashi, Japan. The surroundings accommodate hills of seasonal trees and pale sun rays. Behind, the ever-changing form of a rice paddy lot occasionally turns into a mirror, reflecting the peaceful town. Minimally gracing the area, Kadogawa House is raised by clean white bricks and a surface of fine grey pebbles that signify pathways. Around the house’s vicinity there are no visible trees. Its mass then becomes a large stone in a re-imagined Japanese Zen garden.
Designed by Kenta Eto Atelier, Kadogawa House aims to create a series of moments where the interior exchanges with the outside nature. Black corrugated iron covers all five sides of the facade, creating a neutrality to be consumed by the environment. With two large openings—respectively in the back and on the side—the inhabitants are promised privacy and leisure.
Where the exterior is cladded with a strong visuality, the interior is a combination of white plaster, yellow timber, and light grey concrete. Covering the ground floor is an elevated platform to mark a change in space. Followed by a series of inner openings, one gets peeks of wooden platforms that are integrated within. In the kitchen, there is no dining table. In its place is a singular surface that reinforces Japanese dining traditions and etiquette. Looking up, a series of wooden louvers are implemented to diffuse the sun, which gently enters through the skylight above. With orderly angular methodologies to the design, the architects put in instances for breakage through thin white metal lines that run across spaces, acting as railings for whimsical circulation pathways.
The symphony of lines criss-crossing each other makes this residential project playful and interactive. Much like its open plan, visual connectivity is heightened since the dwelling also takes on the role of a gathering space. Devoid of doors and blockages, the interior is a seamless breathe that carries one through each and every moment that the space changes.
Almost like a harmony, the contrast of inner and outer aesthetics ignites a sense of subconscious balance. Where one is the force that condenses itself into a minimal mass full of strength, the other is a complex fragility that toys with tactical senses. When stillness exists within opposing forces, a state of equilibrium is reached and the essence of Zen is present, which can strongly be seen in Kadogawa House.