Ch3c – Rural Housing Handbook – Using the site

Continuing the theme of understanding the site contours, below are a
few photographs from the cantilevered house outside Osaka by the
Eastern Design Office (contact details below).

House at Osaka by Eastern DesignOffice

House at Osaka by Eastern DesignOffice

House at Osaka by Eastern Design Office

House at Osaka by Eastern Design Office

Photographer: Koichi Torimura

As well as using the earth to embrace the building (the lower level of
the house is built right into a mountain); any ‘lost contours’ were
replaced actually in the contours of the building – where the natural
contours of the land are reflected in the curved lines of the house.

This house was also featured in Februaries issue of Grand Designs
Magazine (http://www.granddesignsmagazine.com) and to quote from Anna
Nakamura the general flattening of the site (the normal practice also
here in Ireland) is described as “a loss of topography”.

A similar comparison in Ireland (described in earlier sections) is the
Mimetic House by Dominic Stevens, where half the house is also built
below ground and the reflective panels above ground dissolve the house into the landscape. The sedum grass roof appears to be pushing out of the ground and this roof effectively replaces the ‘loss of topography’ described above.

Mimetic House by Dominic Stevens

Mimetic House by Dominic Stevens

Compare our own house, where the living room is buried below ground
and the grass roof that covers this section again replaces the ‘loss
of topography’; where effectively the ground that was taken has now
been replaced with a new thriving environment. As well as the grass
that we grew from seed, the growth patterns of mosses and wild flowers have beyond my wildest expectations as shown in the photograph below.

Edge of grass roof

Edge of grass roof showing mosses & grasses (also shows drainage and brise soleil)

Grass roof over house

Grass roof over house

What I am therefore talking about is an architecture that respects and
understands its environment, and that includes the site’s topography.
Part of the purpose of this blog/book is to enlighten clients and
planners to the possibilities that are being missed in the ways that
we can sculpt our environment. Maybe the concepts will have to break a few rules; I was told (in no uncertain terms) that cantilevers are not a traditional feature; clients are frequently told they can’t have
excessive glazing to the front – we need to challenge these
assumptions and ask the powers WHY ? Who made up these rules ? Come on, for god’s sake, the landscape has already been blighted by
bungalow blitz and the Celtic Tiger (most of the blame I will give to
untrained, non-architects, I hasten to add); it’s time to put trust in
architects and to see what we can do for Ireland, as I’ve said
previously – it’s not going to be any worse than what has gone before
it!

Eastern Design Office
Tel +81 75 642 6944

http://www.eastern.e-arc.jp

2 thoughts on “Ch3c – Rural Housing Handbook – Using the site

  1. What you’ve stated is so blindingly obvious, it’s no wonder that people cannot see!
    And Anna Nakamura is a budding Master!

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