'IT IS A GARDEN' By Assistant

The jungle of Karuizawa in Nagano, Japan hosts a guest house and a private art gallery called, IT IS A GARDEN. The very name reveals the why and how of this building’s construction: it is a garden. This is how the architects Hiroi Ariyama & Megumi Matsubara designate the structure as a conscious one that calls attention to its nature as essentially a garden. The structure was built in 2016 for a private client, with the collaboration of the two aforementioned architects from the Assistant Architecture Firm.

This one floor building has been constructed over an area of 2963 square meters, with a built area of 523 square meters and a total floral area of 475 square meters. The materials used in the construction of this flat square shape building consist of concrete and black glass, giving the structure a minimalist aspect. The entire building is characterised with the intermission of the courtyards, mostly functioning as gardens, with the roofed area, which covers the space dedicated for the guesthouse and the gallery of the private art collection of the owner.

This structure plays a great role in creating a sense of harmony with the environment; seen from the above, it is as if the surrounding forest has creeped in the building, making it one with the nature. The most defining feature of this structure is the interplay of the light with the space. The rooms have been built in a way that face the gardens, this way the structure opens up at areas defined by the courtyards to let the light penetrate inside the building vertically, an arrangement which allows more light into the rooms stretched on the horizontal plain.

In addition to this, this design gives rise to a play of the light and shadows as wherever the light champions, there is also the shadow in the backdrop. Here, especially thanks to the slant sloping of the roofs towards the courtyards, shadows of the leaves of the trees and the foliage get cast inside the building. The intelligent simplicity of the structure has been applied as a source of calm and inspiration for the owner and the visitors.

All images, courtesy of: Assistant