Natural outlook

This contemporary residence combines an emphasis on natural materials with a design that melds with the scenery that surrounds it
Story by: Charles Moxham
View of the living area with sofas, TV, architecture, ceiling, interior design, living room, lobby, real estate, brown
View of the living area with sofas, TV, coffee table, glazing.

Sometimes modern house design is as much about what to leave out as it is about what to add in. Finding a delicate rhythm between the walls, windows and indoor-outdoor connections allows the design to include scenic surroundings as part of the decor.

This house, designed by architect Jun Yagisawa, is set within a scenic mountain range. The site is surrounded by natural beauty at every turn, and part of Yagisawa's brief was to design a contemporary residence that maximised the crisp, verdant environment.

"The house's design, when seen from above, represents the concept of three fish slipping through a clear-water stream," says Yagisawa. "The three fish, or structural blades, fan out at the front of the home, creating a broad, open welcome."

The house is built on two levels, with the ground level including the main entrance, a conservatory, three-car garage carparking, ancillary spaces such as staff quarters, and a stairwell and an elevator up to the main floor.

Also at this level, a man-made pond, stream and waterfall seem to meander right under the house. Upon approach, the pond is visible in one of the ground-level niches created by the three curving architectural fins.

"The house sits alongside a stream, and these elements are an echo of that but the water is sourced from the mains," says Yagisawa. "The sights and sounds of moving water give guests the sense of being infused with nature even before they enter the elevator and climb to the main level."


Exterior view of home with stainless steel roof, architecture, building, cottage, estate, facade, home, house, property, real estate, residential area
Exterior view of home with stainless steel roof, granite cladding, landscaping, doors and windows.

The upper storey is largely a single, open-plan viewing gallery that runs right through the residence from front to back. The dining and kitchen areas form part of the open-plan space, while a Japanese room, a gymnasium, a bathing wing, the master bedroom and two other bedrooms are separate rooms.

All three bedrooms are set at the front of the house to take advantage of the views.

"The house is used mostly as a weekend getaway, a place for relaxing, entertaining and pampering guests of the owner appreciation of the natural environment is central to this," says the architect. "At the front of the living space, full-height glass walls climb up across the ceiling, bringing views of the sky as well as the mountains into the home's interior."

The Japanese room, set to one side of the home, is also dedicated to conversation and contemplation.

"Every aspect of the house presents something new to the eye," says Yagisawa. "A glass floor insert to the rear of the living areas looks down on the waterfall behind the house, for example, and another circular glass element elsewhere in the floor provides a glimpse down into the decorative pond on the floor beneath."

Other interior architectural features include giant lantern-like pillars, illuminated from within, and a grand sweeping benchtop that provides a degree of separation for the kitchen space.

View of open-plan dining area which features black ceiling, interior design, lobby, restaurant, brown
View of open-plan dining area which features black dining table, dining chairs, marble tiled flooring, two circular lights hanging above table. extensive gazing.

"Besides creating an awe-inspiring destination, the home also had to address the practical needs of the owners when they stay here," he says. "So while the kitchen has more of a bar or entertaining look, it includes every convenience, with all the day-to-day elements tucked away in a concealed pantry alongside."

For practical reasons the house is built in structural concrete, but a rich palette of materials ties it back to the natural setting.

The house is surfaced inside and out with granite, albeit in different finishes. Elsewhere, marble, wood, glass, and even leather, abound.

"From a separate bathing wing, complete with a large, relaxing tub, to the serenity of the Japanese room, and the presence of the tinkling waterfall to the rear, everything is intended to engage the owners and their guests on a sensual level," says Yagisawa.

Oct 05, 2009

Credit list

Interior designer
Earnest Architects
Roof
Stainless steel on steel bed
Cladding
Granite
Glazing
Sankyo Tateyama Aluminum
Skylight
Tateyama Aluminum
Sculpture
Ryu Glass
Builder
Earnest Homes
Structure
Reinforced concrete
Flooring
Granite, marble, glass
Ceiling
Plaster
Lighting
Yamagiwa; Panasonic; Endo
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