This great Kawana House is a japanese residential architecture project designed by Foster + Partners. The Kawana house, with its adjoining guesthouse is a fusion of the Japanese love of harmony and respect for nature and the Western refinement of a dematerialized architecture of steel and glass. The house is an exploration of traditional Japanese architecture in a modern context.
The building’s sited on a dramatic stretch of volcanic coastline where long, inaccessible fingers of lava jut into Sagami Bay, the change in levels across the site and the views out to sea are central to the projects design. Set on a raised platform, the house is positioned so that the main living areas have uninterrupted views out to sea.
Services and storage areas are arranged around the perimeter, allowing the central accommodation to be configured as one continuous, open and flowing space. The framed structure creates seven rectangular bays defining the main spaces. These top-lit spaces can be subdivided by means of sliding screens, while adjustable louvres control the quality of natural light through the glazed roof.
Full-height glazed sliding doors line the perimeter, allowing the living spaces to open out on to adjoining terraces, thus eroding divisions between inside and out. The surrounding landscape combines new elements with existing features. Mature trees line the cliff top, while newly planted camphor trees provide privacy from the road. Stone lanterns, some dating from the eighth century, are positioned around the house and a small teahouse of the late Edo period, brought from Shimane prefecture, completes the overall composition.