By Savitha Hira
Photography: Toshihisa Ishii; courtesy the architect
Ar. Masahiko Sato’s latest design of a residence in Omura City, Nagasaki is an excellent play of volumes - an interesting construction in wood that gives no indication of what lies within…
The horizontally spread L-shaped home is actually a ground-plus-two structure but appears more like a ground-plus-one home with a strong timber vocabulary. Juxtaposing the vertical rotund timber members are horizontal wooden slats (painted white) that tie together the three blocks that constitute the upper storeys of the home, the entire structure appearing as a beatific composition of perpendicularity.
Its wood-wrapped exteriors appear warm and welcoming and lead from an open courtyard-like space that affords parking for up to ten cars to an inner courtyard that genially connects the living space to the dining and kitchen. While living areas flow freely into one another and the outdoors, the more personal areas – bedrooms and workplace are located on the upper floors for quietude and privacy.
The vertical slats that wrap the periphery of the home and the connecting links to the individual blocks of the upper storeys allow for privacy and simultaneously open up the interiors to natural light and ventilation. This is an important consideration of the project, according to the architect, who ensures that the home comes alive with varying chiaroscuro elements in tandem with the shifting rays of the sun. This lends the home a distinctive character during different times of the day, and under its soft lighting program at night.
Linearity defines the interiors spaces and is emphasized by the use of long tables, kitchen and work counters drawing one’s attention to the sparsely furnished home that still looks absolutely finished! The material and colour palettes are kept minimalist in tandem with the overall design sensibilities; absolutely in sync with the horizontal and vertical lines and volumes at play.