The courtyard sitting at the end of a narrow entrance from the roadside is an important pacifying element of the house. It creates a clear transition between the busy outside world and the tranquil interior. Surrounded by the master bedroom, a walk-in closet, and a dedicated tea room, the courtyard serves as common ground, unifying all of the rooms despite their varied functions.
This unifying space is complemented by the exterior of the house, covered with carbonized Japanese cedar boards called “Yakisugi,” a material regularly used in the past because of its fire resistance and overall toughness. While the facade may appear disorganized at first, it is actually arranged systematically using boards and battens of varying width and thickness. This feature creates order from chaos, much like the surrounding environment.
During the day, the uneven texture of the Yakisugi walls also creates a mesmerizing progression of shadows and light as the sun moves through the sky. With so many aspects of the design proving that a whole can be made from many pieces, even the contrast of the black walls and the winter snow was accounted for.
Images by © Murai Isamu