One of the design directions highlighted by Charles Luck Perspectives, our annual architecture and design forecast is Wilderness, which suggests that people have an urgent desire to get closer to nature – whether by bringing the outdoors in or, in the case of the dwelling featured today, by completely immersing themselves in the natural world.
33-year old Japanese architecture student Go Hasegawa is known for exploring the character of spaces that are partly inside and partly outside, emphasizing the relationship between a building and its immediate surroundings. Pilotis in a Forest is a weekend retreat three hours from the non-stop hustle and bustle, neon and metal of Tokyo. For this exercise, Hasegawa mimicked the surrounding tall, slender trees and his structure aims to co-exist with the natural landscape that surrounds it.
The main living space floats 6.5 meters (roughly 21 feet) in midair and is supported by thin stilts, creating an outdoor patio beneath it. A series of stilts and cross braces provide elevation and the narrowness give the impression that the house is almost floating above the ground.
From the dwelling, residents can see across the treetops to the mountains in the distance. Underneath, a concrete deck is spacious enough for residents to gather for a barbecue. There is also a rooftop platform high enough in the surrounding tree canopy to see Mount Asama during wintertime.
The house is accessed by a set of open stairs and features frameless windows and a terrace that serves to remove the barrier between the dwelling and the natural world. For Hasegawa this creates a “tiny space that makes it look like a bird’s nest. The residents feel the natural forest more brightly and freshly from here,” he says.
The interior, including a bedroom, kitchen, living room and bathroom, is finished entirely in wood, enhancing the symbiosis between the natural world and the manmade. Building an eco-house was not the motivation; rather the Pilotis is best interpreted as a zen-like meditation space.