Japanese architecture has a long and deep connection with the natural world. Earthy colours, materials and simple layouts have always reigned supreme. Traditional homes also had long verandas and sliding panels that offered carefully constructed views of nature. Essentially, the natural world was seen as an important place for spiritual insight and growth. As a result, past and present Japanese architecture exhibits a deep reverence for natural materials and an avoidance of artifice.
The Japanese cabin we will explore today seems to be the perfect vehicle for exploring such ideas. It is set in a beautiful woodland setting and is super clean, minimalist and brimming with earthy, peaceful warmth.
It is surprisingly large at 112 square metres and is brought to us courtesy of Japanese firm Usami Architecture. Come with us to explore its features through a series of beautiful photos. Enjoy!
The flat-roofed wooden structure presents a simple exterior with a soft, charcoal black finish. The surface areas have been pared back to a minimum, and the effect is somewhat minimalist and humble. The primary opening dominates the exterior and has a direct relationship to the garden. The ground level is 25.2 metres and the upper level just 13.25 square metres. From this angle we have a peek of this upper level and the chimney. The second level is set back a little from the ground floor and this makes the home appear even more humble amongst the landscaping.
Inside the main opening, we come to the simple, wooden living room. As with many contemporary Japanese homes, the furniture is made from wood and partially built into the space. This allows for a seamless, unified and simple look to the space. There is almost no ornamentation or decoration, but there is a huge, perfectly framed view of the garden outside. This natural beauty has been reflected in the natural materials and earthy simplicity of this living room cum dining room. Finally, the wooden sloping roof adds a cosy, homely ambience to the space.
Japanese style shoji walls were traditionally used to separate spaces inside Japanese homes. But here they have been used for an exterior wall. In this configuration, the same living room we saw earlier becomes a more private, intimate space. The semi-transparent walls still allow for lots of light to enter the space, but it's now, quite dramatically, an interior space.
This simple, wooden staircase and hallway is an example of how beautifully warm and finished a minimalist transitional space can feel. The richness and warmth of course comes from the wooden materials and the small, golden lamps. Transitional spaces are an important element in Japanese architecture, so the simplicity here has been carefully considered. Note how the wooden wall to the left has been shifted a little to create a small shelf for artworks.
Upstairs, we come to the cosy study. As with the other rooms, this one has customised wooden furniture in the form of a built in wooden desk. The customisation allows for seamless integration with the walls of the building. An overhead bookshelf adds a practical touch. There is little to distract in this space except the view. This is a place for study and perhaps quiet contemplation of nature.
It can be tricky to integrate a kitchen with the rest of the home. This is particularly so in a rustic home where the look that makes a living room feel so cosy may feel jarring in a modern kitchen. But here, the designers have found a quiet balance. They have designed a galley kitchen with one bench made from stainless steel and the other from wood. The long wooden cabinets blend perfectly into the existing decor and the handles are minimalist and unobtrusive. In all, we feel this is the perfect place to finish up our tour.
We hope you enjoyed this Ideabook! Want more Japanese architecture? Then you'll love A Japanese Home with Stunning Wood Interiors.