Koshino House is one of Tadao Ando’s early works. Built in 1980, the Koshino House is located at the hills of Rokko Mountains, Ashiya City, Kobe having an area of 3168 Sq. Ft. The construction of the building started in 1979 and was carried out in two-phase, 1979-1981 (construction of two parallel blocks) and later in 1983-1984 (addition of a studio for the designer Koshin). 

Koshino House by Tadao Ando: The play of Light Sheet1
Aerial View Koshino House_©Wikiarquitectura

Concept

Tadao Ando’s designs are influenced by Japanese architectural concepts with western techniques and materials. Two main concepts used in Koshino House are minimalism and blending the design with site constraints.

Minimalism fosters the zen influence of Japanese culture and is best observed in the built form and material palette used. 

The site is located on a densely wooded mountainside, hence the two cuboids are placed parallel to each other to not interrupt the existing vegetation on site. Ando’s architectural style of the ‘Haiku Effect’, highlighting the nothingness of space, is well-observed in the design of the Koshino House. The house is more like a labyrinth of shadow and light. 

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Koshino House_©Wikiarquitectura

Design Ideology

While designing Koshino House, Tadao Ando focused on making the best use of existing site slopes. As per Ando’s ideology of site craft, of blending the built and the unbuilt, Tadao Ando buried the rectangular units beneath the ground to complement the existing topography.

The composition of units complements the sloping ground, while the interiors are manipulated to allow the light to penetrate and enhance the simplicity of the concrete used. 

Interior spaces are spacious and expanding towards the outdoors. Ando installed the courtyard connecting the concrete blocks to appreciate the lush green landscape around and on-site. 

The two concrete blocks are the north block and the south block. The northern block is two-story high, accomodating a double-height living room at the entrance, kitchen, and dining room on the first floor and the main bedroom on the second floor. After four years of construction, a studio on the second floor of the south block was added, as per the occupant’s requirements.

The studio creates a change in the rhythm of the existing cuboidal form by adding a bold curve. The southern block is private. It consists of six children’s bedrooms arranged linearly, with bathrooms and all connecting to a lobby. The two volumes connect through an under-grade tunnel that lies beneath the external stairs of the courtyard.

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Stairway_©Wikiarquitectura
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Atelier’s Curved Wall_©Tadao Ando Architects
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Living room_©Wikiarquitectura
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Minimal Approach_©Wikiarquitectura

Circulation

Circulation is unique in its way. As a person enters the house from the above level he/she moves towards the lower level. As the person enters the double-height living room, the transition in space is like going from an enclosed to an open and larger one. Tadao Ando designs buildings with flat levels and connected via corridors. Staircases are to be used to move to another floor.

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Vertical Slits in Corridor_©Mine Yilmaz-Ulas

Material

Tadao Ando followed the principle of simplicity. The material palette revolves around smooth plain concrete combined with glass windows and doors. The interior of Koshino House is unadorned with any ornamentation. The walls are grey with a brutal texture of concrete (no plaster and paint). The spaces appear to be huge with minimal furniture. Open spaces deliver a sense of openness and freedom.

Space Organisation

Tadao Ando has maintained a volumetric hierarchy as he incorporated three types of space organization: rectangular, squared, and circular volumetric space with double and single heights.

Space organization is in the term of the hierarchy of occupancy. The place which is most likely to be used, like the living room, is bigger than the kitchen and bedrooms. The bedrooms and kitchen are single heightened, as per the requirements, and the corridors connecting all the spaces are narrow.

The shift in space proportions around the house lays a visual impact on the viewer. As a person walks through the corridors, there is a repetitive pattern observed in circulation. At the ending of the hallway, there is a door connecting the exterior to the interior. 

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Koshino House Diagrams_©Jeremy and Mortan Designs

Play of Light and Shadow

Openings allowing the penetration of daylight in the interior reflect in changing the mood of the space. Tadao Ando achieved the Haiku Effect by providing holes on walls and floor. Vertical slits at the top of the walls in corridors and living rooms allow the inlet of daylight, further resulting in an enlarged perception of space. The reflection of light complementing the plain concrete textured walls delivers a sense of calmness and serenity.

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Light and Shadow_©Wikiarquitectura
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Evening View of Koshino House_©Wikiarquitectura

Koshino House restores the theme of minimalism and well-structured design. Open areas and clean lines support the structural aspect and depict the minimal approach of Japanese Zen culture. The incorporation of built with the unbuilt, while respecting the site constraints, conveys the vision of the site craft of Tadao Ando. 

According to the philosophy of Tadao Ando about Zen culture and minimalism, the shift in the hierarchy of spaces and volumes depicts the importance of life. The highlights added by the play of light and shadow on plain concrete walls and wooden flooring make the user experience close to nature.

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Koshino House Ground Floor Plan_©Jeremy and Mortan Designs
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Koshino House First Floor Plan_©Jeremy and Mortan Designs
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Exploded view_©Jeremy and Mortan Designs
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Elevation_©Jeremy and Mortan Designs

References

  1. Wikiarquitectura.com. (2021). [online] Available at: https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Koshino10-800×1024.jpg [Accessed 6 Jun. 2021].
  2. ‌Wikiarquitectura.com. (2021). [online] Available at: https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Koshino11.jpg.
  3. Wikiarquitectura.com. (2021). [online] Available at: https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Koshino20.jpg [Accessed 6 Jun. 2021].
  4. ‌安藤忠雄. (n.d.). 安藤忠雄. [online] Available at: http://www.tadao-ando.com/projects/.
  5. ‌Wikiarquitectura.com. (2021). [online] Available at: https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Koshino15.jpg [Accessed 6 Jun. 2021].
  6. ‌Wikiarquitectura.com. (2021). [online] Available at: https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Koshino14.jpg.
  7. ‌‌Artstation.com. (2021). [online] Available at: https://cdna.artstation.com/p/assets/images/images/007/702/816/large/mine-yilmaz-ulas-lighting1.jpg?1508104850 [Accessed 6 Jun. 2021].
  8. ‌Jeremy Morton. (n.d.). Koshino House. [online] Available at: http://www.jeremydmorton.com/koshino-house [Accessed 6 Jun. 2021].
  9. Wikiarquitectura.com. (2021). [online] Available at: https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Koshino19.jpg [Accessed 6 Jun. 2021].
  10. ‌Wikiarquitectura.com. (2021). [online] Available at: https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Koshino13.jpg.
  11. ‌Jeremy Morton. (n.d.). Koshino House. [online] Available at: http://www.jeremydmorton.com/koshino-house [Accessed 6 Jun. 2021].
  12. ‌Jeremy Morton. (n.d.). Koshino House. [online] Available at: http://www.jeremydmorton.com/koshino-house [Accessed 6 Jun. 2021].
  13. ‌Jeremy Morton. (n.d.). Koshino House. [online] Available at: http://www.jeremydmorton.com/koshino-house [Accessed 6 Jun. 2021].
  14. ‌Jeremy Morton. (n.d.). Koshino House. [online] Available at: http://www.jeremydmorton.com/koshino-house [Accessed 6 Jun. 2021].
Author

Vanshika was born and raised in Delhi. She is an aesthete, loves to explore the field of art, design, architecture, and everything in between. When it comes to writing, she has always been that kid confiding into diaries and penning down her thoughts. She strongly believes in learning and re-learning

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