The grey colored, boxy structure of ‘Courtyard House’ gives it an industrialized look, which stands in stark contrast to the rest of the neighboring properties. Sandwiched between a farm and the entrance to a shrine the client requested that the house enhances the scenery and makes the best use of the 330 square meter plot of land. The site is located in a relaxed area of Shiga — a geographically diverse area of Japan — where fields and farms stretch far and wide.
The architects designed the house in such a way that nature and impressive views could be fully appreciated. As Kimura explains “incorporating this scenery, the house was then designed to form a U-shaped building with a courtyard which secures privacy.” The courtyard can be seen from the street, where a pair of low walls frame the porch at the entrance to the house. Directly behind this, a gap in the back wall opens out onto the courtyard. Here, a linear water channel filled with plants is designed to create what the team sees as a “visual linkage with the view opening beyond. ”
To further strengthen the relationship between inside and outside, the firm used the same concrete material for the exterior and interior. A variety of concrete fittings such as ledges and seating platforms echo the thick window ledge which can be used as a seat or a terrace on the edge of the building.