Japanese architect Shigeru Ban recently completed a modern minimalist masterpiece in Hakone, Kanagawa that seamlessly connects the built environment with landscape. The two-story residence combines strong geometry and strategic views to create a curved, sloping structure that mimics the surrounding Japanese countryside. A teardrop-shaped courtyard is carved out from the building’s dark square mass, alluding to the surrounding mountains that ring a central green valley.
Shigeru Ban highlights the Villa at Sengokubara’s geometric forms by encircling the green courtyard with a dark sloping roof constructed from a single piece of material. The roof’s uninterrupted curve ascends from the first level to the mezzanine, the highest section of the villa. The roof also angles inward to create a shaded canopy that sweeps across the courtyard’s rounded edge.
The Villa at Sengokubara’s sequence of open-plan rooms radiates out from the courtyard’s central tree, providing unobstructed views into the sunny courtyard as well as views out to the surrounding landscape. Eight sliding doors sit between the main dining area and the interior courtyard, giving residents the option of creating one large unified area or separating the indoor and outdoor zones into two living spaces.
Exposed timber columns and roof joists create rhythm and warmth that unify the rooms. The varied ceiling heights and partitions created by spaced-out wooden slats create a sense of movement and spaciousness throughout the villa. To the east, an open terrace connects the inner courtyard with a large garden space.