Contemporary Coastal Concrete House in Japan
What do you want from an all-seasons home on the water? For some, the key is cozy cabin-like appeal on the most beautiful building site available. For these clients, the approach was about as opposite as can be: build something big but not ostentatious, contextually relevant but not residential in any traditional sense … and located on a bland flat lot where one might expect to find cars parked.
At first glance, this Brutalist cast-in-place, reinforced-concrete building by Kazunori Fujimoto looks like it could house waterfront offices or be a renovated shipping warehouse, now used, perhaps, as a tourist information station or rest stop for folks parking their boats out front.
In reality, it is a year-round home with ‘guest boat’ lots directly out the front door (or back, depending on your perspective).
The heavy gray of the linear and block-like exterior reflects some of the boxy industrial and nautical surroundings, making it almost look camouflaged against water and land right along the edge of both.
Its dimensional windows and other rectangular openings may appear boring from the outside, but from within they frame access points to (as well lovely views of) the built and natural environments on all sides.
A series of balconies, foyers and staircases help bridge gaps between the inside and outside, and provide snapshot-like, picture-worthy views both up to the town and hills behind and to the vast body of water beyond.
Not everything is about shock and awe (or minimalism for that matter); some interior areas look bold and modern, while other living areas feature traditional Japanese-style woodwork, rice-paper screens and other details that reflect regional sensibilities.
The rest of the architect’s portfolio is variations on the same theme, many of the residences feeling sculptural and somehow cozy despite the hard, cold, minimalist materials. Check out House in Ashiya, for instance, with its impressive concrete spiral staircase.