Walking through the quiet streets of this Japanese neighbourhood, in the city of Nagoya, one may encounter a curious dwelling. Unlike its neighbouring houses modelled after the usual vertical and thin design, made to fit the narrow lots, an understated cube-like residence carves out its own place. It is both traditional-looking in its cabin-like appearance, and contemporary in its stark angles and austere demeanour.
Ogimachi House was made to "fill maximum function with minimal material" as explained by designers from Uno Tomoaki Architects. The premise of the project is to offer the client's mother a refuge––a place for tranquility. With that in mind, each room was made to allow fluid transitions and as much as amplitude. Additionally, as it exhibits clear influences from Japanese and Scandinavian minimalism it is easy to notice a careful collection of besboke essential furniture with no ornamentation in sight.
Natural timber bathes the dwelling with no exception, from the walls to the details in every finishing touch. The visual cohesion is a direct influence of the quintessential Japanese method of construction, making use of locally-sourced raw materials as well. Cedar boards were carefully built to withstand fire hazard and offer proper insulation in winter time––achieving the same effect as a log house.
The key concept is privacy, as evidenced from the striking outer shell, no side-windows were set in place. Acting as protection from the outside, the architects defied the usual conventions and put all their efforts in an exquisite collection of 37 skylights. As the natural lights purveys beautiful variance in intensity throughout the day, the dwelling is blessed with constant unique shadow-play.
The dwelling at hand is a great example of minimalism as healing architecture. From absolute privacy to the visual tranquility imbued in all rooms––as the daily life of its inhabitant was transformed in every aspect.