By Savitha Hira
Photography: Toshihisa Ishii; courtesy Ar. Masahiko Sato
Ar. Masahiko Sato introduces the warmth of wood in this refurbishing exercise in Miyazaki city on Kyushu Island in Japan.
The architect first sets out to dispel the coldness of concrete – the envelope that wraps the independent residence. Ushering in the use of wood, he chisels out a warm living area overlooking the garden and a double-height dining area that connects to the upper level of the two-storey residence, with a feeling of camaraderie.
Simultaneously addressing thermal insulation and a warm aesthetic, wood freely wraps the false ceiling in the living room, extending right up to the floor above in a continuous ribbon. Several walls and floors are also clad in wood, accomplishing a continuous aesthetic of umber and white that adds an interesting dimension to the space.
Vertical lines augment the ceiling height of 7.3 metres, with windows too carved out as vertical slits. The home comes alive as a juxtaposition of planes – perpendicular and parallel; the composition balanced by strategic curves – an elongated oval centre table in the living room and an angular balcony in the atrium at the entrance. Built form and voids create a puzzle -like pattern, opening up the home to its surroundings with the terrace abutting the living spaces in a few areas.
Light – natural and artificial, becomes the unifying factor, as the home is liberally flooded with daylight streaming in through large windows and patio doors; and by night, through recessed lights that follow the timber pattern, complementing and completing it.
The large, almost 300 sq. m. home is also anointed with its elements of quirk – the heavy leather-covered furniture in the minimalist setting; the barbeque counter in the garden - a proclamation of a penchant for entertaining; and the timber-louvered enclosure to the bathroom that is at once spunky as it is chic and understated.