SHELTER: At Home Among the Trees

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Aug 6, 2013 | By Mike Weiss

As buildings go up, farms, swamps and forests usually go down. It’s civilization path of destruction in the name of growth. But in the quiet town of Yonago City, one architect had a very different approach. Rather than tear down, he became one with nature.

How’d it turn out? Well. In a country known for putting a premium on space, the Daisen house steals the show. The architect, Keisuke Kawaguchi (K2 Design), balanced nature and space to utilize every inch of space between the cherry blossoms and pine trees.

Luminaries like Frank Lloyd WrightRichard NeutraLudwig Mies van der Rohe and Ralph Adams Cram were all heavily influenced by the Japanese tradition, and the East has been an indispensable guide to Western architecture.

Take the sliding glass door, which is a western adaption of a traditional Japanese style. In the West, doors typically swung on hinges, either in or out. But in Japan, doors between rooms slid on a horizontal axis to make wide entryways. We've since copied, and to great results.

Keisuke Kawaguchi, the man behind K2 Design, hopes to continue Japan’s worldwide influence. Founded in 1999, K2 hasn't lost sight of their modern + minimalist approach and their commitment to coexist with nature. 

Kawaguchi strives to prove that less is more (in design and impact), and he’s convincing. In addition to the Daisen house, his award winning "House of Setouchi" successfully manifests his mentality.

Throughout the house, K2 used materials native to the forest (like wood floors and ceilings) to help serve as a reminder that the home belongs more to nature than it does to man.

And due to cold winters that drop an average of two meters of snow, K2 designed the house in the piloti style (on pillars) to prevent drifts. For the summer, moisture and heat from the ground move around, rather than into the house, keeping it comfortably temperate.

With large glass panels and wooden walkways between main living areas, this luxurious yet rugged home is an conservationist's dream. Instead of cutting down surrounding trees to build the home, Kawaguchi has created a house for man to live with, not against, nature.

All images by Koji Fujii from K2-Design. Via Visuall.