28th Shinkenchiku Award Finalist 1: Forest Bath

JA+U : 28th Shinkenchiku Award Finalist 1: Forest Bath by Kyoko Ikuta Architecture Laboratory + Ozeki Architects & Associates © Shinkenchiku-sha

This weekend house is located in the forest of Karuizawa (Nagano Prefecture), a popular getaway from Tokyo. The single-story house has a steep gabled roof with a triangular void extracted from its center.

JA+U : 28th Shinkenchiku Award Finalist 1: Forest Bath by Kyoko Ikuta Architecture Laboratory + Ozeki Architects & Associates © Shinkenchiku-sha

Ms. Ikuta explained to the jurors some of the undesirable aspects of the site. Neighboring residences overlook the site. The 15 meter-tall (49.2 feet) Japanese larches offer no little by way of screening. Ikuta decided to keep the views from the house either very low (to avoid being seen by neighbors) or very high (to see the foliage).

JA+U : 28th Shinkenchiku Award Finalist 1: Forest Bath by Kyoko Ikuta Architecture Laboratory + Ozeki Architects & Associates © Shinkenchiku-sha

Both jurors were impressed by the unorthodox spatial quality created by juxtaposition of simple geometries.

JA+U : 28th Shinkenchiku Award Finalist 1: Forest Bath by Kyoko Ikuta Architecture Laboratory + Ozeki Architects & Associates © Kyoko Ikuta Architecture Laboratory

Plan courtesy of architect

The triangular rooms contain a bathroom at one end a bedroom in the other.

JA+U : 28th Shinkenchiku Award Finalist 1: Forest Bath by Kyoko Ikuta Architecture Laboratory + Ozeki Architects & Associates © Shinkenchiku-sha

They were also amazed by how the rooms are gently separated by the walls without a door between the rooms, and that the house appears completely different depending on the point from which it is viewed.

JA+U : 28th Shinkenchiku Award Finalist 1: Forest Bath by Kyoko Ikuta Architecture Laboratory + Ozeki Architects & Associates © Shinkenchiku-sha

The jurors further touched on the possible difficulty of placing furniture in the triangular rooms. Placement of the bathtub and beds interferes with the architect’s intention to emphasize the low and deep windows in those rooms.