It began with one painting.

This traditional Japanese style painting is called “Yozakura Gekka” (by Hiroshi Senju), featuring an exquisite weeping cherry tree in blossom lit by the moon light.

It was for this painting that the owner wished to have a private space to admire – where he could spend his time quietly and feel the beauty of falling petals. He wanted to create simple but elegant atmosphere like luxurious hotel for his living room/study and bedroom.

Project name :Oukikyo
Architect’ Firm :Atsumasa Tamura Design office
Lead Architects :Atsumasa Tamura
Builders :R Architects Atelier Co., Ltd.
Project location :Wakayama City, Japan
Construction classification :Renovated House
Structure Scale :Single-story wooden building
Site area :234.7㎡ / sq.m
Building area: 65.99㎡ / sq.m
Total floor space: 65.99㎡ / sq.m
Completion Year : April 2018
Design period: April 2017 – September 2017
Construction period: November 2017 – April 2018
Photo credits : Sohei Terui

Oukikyo By Atsumasa Tamura Design Office - Sheet6The building was a one-story wooden structure of 66 square meters that was build more than 40 years ago. Upon this renovation, the original main structure was kept unchanged but the west side of the house was made into a large spacious single room containing the living room/ study and the bedroom area. Storage unit between those two areas separates the room but does not close off the space, leaving openness. Kitchen and a bathroom are placed in the east side.

Oukikyo By Atsumasa Tamura Design Office - Sheet8To incorporate the owner’s love for the painting and cherry blossoms, the concept for this project was proposed that the painting was to become the center of the house, rather than creating a space to exhibit it.

The painting “Yozakura Gekka” by H. Senju, featuring a weeping cherry in the moonlight – Owner asked for a private space for it, where he could dwell quietly & feel the beauty of falling petals, in simple but elegant place.

It was one-storied 40 years old wooden house of 66 m2. The frame was kept, but the west side was made into a spacious room with living room/ study & bedroom. Kitchen/ bathroom were placed in east.

To incorporate the owner’s love for the painting and cherry blossoms, the concept for this project was proposed that the painting was to become the center of the house, rather than creating a space to exhibit it.

Oukikyo By Atsumasa Tamura Design Office - Sheet10“Four Seasons”

As “Yozakura Gekka” symbolizes Spring, the nature and its four seasons were introduced into the design. Summer is represented in “Asanoha Monyou (hemp leaf pattern)” on the three-parted sliding doors. The sunlight from the south side would be softened by the hand-crafted Yoshino Washi-paper that lined the inside of glass doors, leaving the pattern to emerge.

Autumn is pictured in the elegantly lacquered panel of the Byakudan finish, with “Momiji Monyou (maple leaf pattern)” in scarlet and gold.

Winter is expressed in “Shiki-Matsuba Monyou (pine-needle covering pattern)” that was woven into the Nishizin silk covered the curved ceiling. Cherry buds would awake in winter and endure the cold until the spring blossom time. To complement the beauty of Yozakura Gekka, the winter essence was essential to the place.

“Kawari-Kanzesui Monyou (flowing pattern with swirls)” on the sliding Karakami-paper door represents water, suggesting bathroom facilities laid behind.

Additionally, hinoki cypress was used for newly designed furniture as well as the interior, which would give refined impression with its delicate wood texture and the natural finish. Combined with the Botticino Classico (Italian) marble stones covered the floor, the place would give the impression of the modern incorporated with the traditional Japanese style.

Oukikyo By Atsumasa Tamura Design Office - Sheet12“Four Seasons”

Nature & Four seasons are introduced. The painting is Spring.

Summer: Hemp leaf pattern on sliding doors. Light would come softly through patterned paper screen.

Autumn: Maple leaves on the lacquered panel.

Winter: Pine-needle pattern woven into silk on the ceiling. Cherry buds would endure cold until the blossom. Winter was essential to complement the painting.

Flowing pattern on side door represents water, suggesting bathroom facilities behind. Hinoki was used for furniture & the interior, and Italian marble stones for the floor, providing the mixture of modern and traditional.

Oukikyo By Atsumasa Tamura Design Office - Sheet14“Foyer and Roji-Niwa (small garden) “

The east side entrance had to be moved and became smaller. The foyer was thus created between the entrance and the main room, with a small foyer garden (Roji-Niwa). It was designed to provide the sense of anticipation before entering the suite. The sculpture by Todo Raon was placed in the middle of the foyer garden, which has a glass part set into its whinstone body, producing the atmosphere where the nature and the artifacts were quietly in harmony.

“Three Windows in North”

As the south side was structurally open, north windows were designed to let in less light, with the variety of sizes and shapes. The study window is large, set at the height of the desk, and has a view of Shihou-bamboo garden just outside when the screen is open. The lower bedroom window is situated near the floor and horizontally long so that the view from the bed would be extended to the outside. The other bedroom window, which is small and located at the height of the bed, has the hand-crafted washi-paper for its screen, letting in the sunlight through softly. Both study and bedroom windows have screens, glass doors and net doors, all of which are sliding that would let wind through.

Oukikyo By Atsumasa Tamura Design Office - Sheet16

“Curved Ceiling”

Existing beam was 2600 mm in height. It was requested to produce a high ceiling to give a spacious feeling to the study/ bedroom. Therefore the formula for the Super Ellipse “(x/a)^M + (y/b)^M = 1 M=2.5” by Piet Hein (Mathematician) was applied to give this natural and elegant curve. By combining this with the lower ceiling, it would give the effect in visual that this curved ceiling is higher than the actual.

“At Dusk”

At dusk the lantern would illuminate cobbled path softly. Coming towards the house, when following this cobbled path with the old Nepal holly (Mochi no Ki) to guide the way, bright light from the entrance screen would invite the owner to the house. Newly renovated space is now transformed into the place that would “welcome” the owner back to the place where his beloved painting, “Yozakura Gekka” awaits him.

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