Frank Lloyd Wright is usually the first architect who comes to mind when someone mentions modern ‘organic architecture’ – this incredible Japanese housing structure is a strange new take on the fusion of modernistic ideas and naturalistic aesthetics. Perhaps the most important distinction: FLW was inspired by horizontal landscapes of the Midwest, but this tower deals with a Far East vertical urban landscape.
From the outside, the ‘modern’ elements and ‘organic’ ones are strongly separated – a tree-like curved-and-cut facade covers angular construction on the lower floors and terminates midway up the building, leaving a very modern-looking box on top. Pedestrians are thus presented with an engaging and animated street-front face – but passers by across the street are given a glimpse above as well.
Inside, however, these disparate shapes and styles merge into a fluid mixture within an interior courtyard defined by both strong lines and seemingly endless curves. In turn, interior hallways are likewise defined by the curve of each window element as well as flat walls and angular corners.
Light from this central open space animates the circulation areas on all sides – all part of the Eastern Design Office plan to give the building as much interior life as their is on the streets beyond it, providing visual connections as well as natural light to all of the apartment units and the spaces that connect them.
From the architects:
“The essence of this architecture lies in an inner court. The site is at Sumizome, Fushimi, Kyoto. It is a small town with a long and distinguished history, situated south of Tofukuji temple. Facing to south, the building is built on a gentle slope. It is a collective housing of five stories. Two tenants occupy the front and back side of the first floor. There are four units on the second to fourth floor and two units on the fifth floor. The site of a Japanese house is generally small and a narrow lot is facing to a narrow street. Even in a historic town, it happens that such a narrow street is turned to a main street to be the transportation route for cars, then it is no more a place where town people had once shared joy of living together. Therefore in our architecture, we make the inner living space a place to protect what matters in life. “
“We try to protect sky, land and light inside the building. In this occasion, we are asked how the way should be that will lead us to an important place. One’s beautiful life shares the destiny with a town. And the first place where people encounter the outside world is a path. We, therefore, try to adjust the form of the path to the history of the town, the clients’ way of living, and the way of existence of the town people living there.”