Courtyard House By Kouichi Kimura

Metal-clad walls form a horseshoe shape around a courtyard in Japanese architect Kouichi Kimura’s ‘Courtyard House’ in Japan’s Shiga Prefecture.

The grey colored, boxy structure of ‘Courtyard House’ gives it an industrialized look, which stands in stark contrast to the rest of the neighboring properties. Sandwiched between a farm and the entrance to a shrine the client requested that the house enhances the scenery and makes the best use of the 330 square meter plot of land. The site is located in a relaxed area of Shiga — a geographically diverse area of Japan — where fields and farms stretch far and wide.

The architects designed the house in such a way that nature and impressive views could be fully appreciated. As Kimura explains “incorporating this scenery, the house was then designed to form a U-shaped building with a courtyard which secures privacy.” The courtyard can be seen from the street, where a pair of low walls frame the porch at the entrance to the house. Directly behind this, a gap in the back wall opens out onto the courtyard. Here, a linear water channel filled with plants is designed to create what the team sees as a “visual linkage with the view opening beyond.
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To further strengthen the relationship between inside and outside, the firm used the same concrete material for the exterior and interior. A variety of concrete fittings such as ledges and seating platforms echo the thick window ledge which can be used as a seat or a terrace on the edge of the building.

“Incorporating this scenery, the house was then designed to form a U-shaped building..."
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All images © Yoshihiro Asada

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