Tranquil House

Looking directly in front of Tranquil House, it is clear how much its stoic presence breaks away from the surroundings and how its visual concept is based upon absolute symmetry. Almost like a mirror-like image, both sides of the entrance act like a mime of each other. Such composition serves as the introductory elements, although unlike many minimalist projects that wear its heart on its sleeve, the inside program unfolds into something distinct from its façade.

Located in Shiga, Japan, and designed by local studios FORM/Kouichi Kimura Architects, the project is unapologetically brutalist—a strong statement about privacy and proudly owning up to its sculptural concrete form. With that in mind, it is as a reaction to the harsh surrounding context: an industrial facility on one side and a busy highway on the other. Very few windows are present, acting as a protective shell guaranteeing the much sought after quietude for its habitants.

Once on the inside, the narrative turns into a very interesting relay of areas. Acting as a branching path is the main passageway, bestowed with a brighter light than its surrounding ambient, a main hub between two high volumes. Each area has the benefit of a distinct form, from high ceilings in the social/dining area, the ample bedrooms to the black-tiled wet areas. It is dynamic visually, but never busy, justifying its name.

The interior design aims for timeless and precise furniture, leading with muted colours as a complement to the graphite dimension that surrounds all walls. The absence of a large window brings an almost temple-like quality to the project—as a refuge—but never without a firm grip on style and expressive visuals. The architects brought forward a collection of sensible and intricate concepts through a beautifully brutalist project, with tranquility guaranteed.