The selection of the architect was unquestionably a labor of love.
After polling those in Japanese architectural and construction circles, perusing virtually every Japanese magazine on architecture, and reviewing proposals from several well-regarded Japanese architects, the homeowner selected one Mr. Shin Ohori of General Design, Inc. in Tokyo. Ohori san is a relatively young and well-qualified Japanese architect with proven track records in designs containing both modern and traditional Japanese architectural concepts, experience in steel-reinforced concrete building construction, and an openness to new ideas.
Through many in-depth discussions about the Hohokus House project, including the appointment of Mr. Kazuo Morimura of Tokyo’s Shin, Inc. as the project’s builder, the collaboration between architecture and homeowner evolved as follows:
We should consider the best in traditional Japanese architecture, which dates back over a thousand years, and update it for our modern, Internet age. Hohokus House plays off a sensitive interaction between interior and exterior spaces, which is a hallmark of the Japanese aesthetic. Further, Japanese architects have referenced one of the greatest modern architects worldwide, Le Corbusier, and noted how he creatively utilized the form, texture, and color of a very, shall we say, “industrial” material - concrete. These lessons have been well applied in the work of this architect as well.
First, we must look at its geographic, physical location. A premier home anywhere should take inspiration from its physical location in the natural environment, and the buildings around it, too.
In point of fact, the Hohokus House project is fascinating given its placement at the top of a hill, next to several parks in a great Tokyo neighborhood, from which we can even see Mt. Fuji. We could take advantage of the hillside, carve out a portion to create a new first floor with additional rooms and garage, and offer the impression of the home rising up out of, while remaining part of, the peak of the hill.
Further, despite its ranking as the world’s third largest national economy, all of Japan is really a vast collection of small neighborhoods. The fine homes in the immediate vicinity of this project’s toney locale are rather well-designed, which we felt compelled to reflect and surpass in the design of Hohokus House. An added benefit is the strict regulation limiting adjoining building height, which permanently preserves the panoramic vistas.
Utilizing its location at the top of a hill, boldly cutting out a portion of the land to newly create a first floor while retaining what would become a main sidewalk level entrance on the second floor and a dramatic stairway to the third, reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water hillside dwelling
One phrase might be “borderless palette” in that we integrated a range of seemingly disparate, and some perhaps contradictory, elements on our palette to actualize a synthesis or dialectic that produced something largely new. In other words, throughout the project we successfully interfaced cross-border architectural traditions, locational and architectural environmental factors, mix of quality natural materials for the interior and exterior spaces, neutral color schemes, and more, with each individual element adding back up to become a more powerful, cohesive whole, well-suited for Japan and for a discerning American home owner who has made this marvelous country his adopted home.
With Japanese homes eschewing windows that offer passersby interior views, deploying a wall concept on the south side, with floor to ceiling windows providing mountain vistas from living room and line of sight to Mt. Fuji from penthouse
Interior Italian slate courtyard permitting both privacy and sky views, in addition to the freedom to open Japanese-style bathing area window, or electronically switch between transparent and non-transparent window setting
Optimizing spaciousness via natural wood floors throughout; black Italian tile for main entrance, penthouse, interior courtyard, and baths; white walls that extend from the interior through and beyond veranda and inner courtyard; original artwork by Picasso and Chagall; modern furniture; in-home elevator; multimedia digital entertainment centers; robust steel-reinforced concrete structural design offering earthquake resistance, ideal affinity for climate and seasons of Japan, and modernist look and feel
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Sekai Property Agent