The Water and Cherry House, designed by the esteemed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, is a private single-story residence located in Eastern Japan. Drawing inspiration from traditional Japanese temples, the design is configured in a windmill pattern with four distinct rooms radiating from a central point. Embracing the principles of traditional Japanese architecture, the dwelling is intimately connected to its natural surroundings through a surrounding garden.
Water and Cherry House Technical Information
- Architects: Kengo Kuma & Associates | Kengo Kuma Bibliography & Profile
- Typology: Residencial Projects
- Location: East Japan
- Material: Wood
- Project Year: 2012
- Photographs: © Erieta Attali
It is my mission to use the kindness and delicateness that old architecture had. I believe that this mission is not easy to complete. So I am planning to work until I fall down.– Kengo Kuma Architects
Water and Cherry House Photographs
Kengo Kuma’s Philosophy
Kuma’s stated goal is to recover the tradition of Japanese buildings and to reinterpret these traditions for the 21st century. In 1997, he won the Architectural Institute of Japan Award, and in 2009 was made an Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France. Kuma lectures extensively and is the author of numerous books and articles discussing and criticizing approaches in contemporary architecture. His seminal text Anti-Object: The Dissolution and Disintegration of Architecture written in 2008, calls for an architecture of relations, respecting its surroundings instead of dominating them. Kuma’s projects maintain a keen interest in the manipulation of light with nature through materiality.
Although remaining in continuity with Japanese traditions with the clarity of structural solutions, implied tectonics, and importance of light and transparency, Kengo Kuma does not restrain himself to the banal and superficial use of ‘light’ materials. Instead, he goes much deeper, extending to the mechanisms of composition to expand the possibilities of materiality. He utilizes technological advancements that can challenge unexpected materials, such as stone, into providing the same sense of lightness and softness as glass or wood. Kuma attempts to attain a sense of spatial immateriality as a consequence of the ‘particulate nature’ of the light and establish a relationship between a space and the natural round around it.
You could say that my aim is ‘to recover the place’. The place is a result of nature and time; this is the most important aspect. I think my architecture is some kind of frame of nature. With it, we can experience nature more deeply and more intimately. Transparency is a characteristic of Japanese architecture; I try to use light and natural materials to get a new kind of transparency.– Kengo Kuma
In Kengo Kuma’s projects, attention is focused on the connection spaces; on the segments between inside and outside, and one room to the next. The choice of materials stems not so much from an intention to guide the design of the forms, but to conform to the existing surroundings from a desire to compare similar materials, yet show the technical advances that have made possible new uses.
When dealing with stone work, for example, Kuma displays a different character from the preexisting buildings of solid, heavy, traditional masonry construction. Instead, his work surprises the eye by slimming down and dissolving the walls in an effort to express a certain “lightness” and immateriality, suggesting an illusion of ambiguity and weakness not common to the solidity of stone construction
About Kengo Kuma
Kengo Kuma is a distinguished Japanese architect known for his innovative use of natural materials and his dedication to blending buildings with their environments. With a philosophy rooted in the nuances of traditional Japanese architecture, Kuma’s designs often emphasize lightness, transparency, and a profound connection to nature. His notable projects span globally, with each demonstrating his signature style that combines modern techniques with age-old Japanese aesthetics.