When designing a house, an architect is forced to balance on a thin line between the closed and the open: we want our homes to be places where we feel safe, protected and, to some degree, shut off from the world, but we also don't want to be isolated. We want to feel connected to our surroundings, a part of the environment that we live in. This issue is a factor especially when it comes to beach or mountain homes, places where we want to be able to look out and admire the scenery without having to display our vacation lives to our neighbours. Today on homify 360°, we look at Villa SSK, a project by the Japanese firm Takeshi Hirobe Architects that strikes the perfect balance between transparency and privacy.
Located in the hills around Tokyo Bay, Villa SSK is perfectly situated for a breathtaking ocean view. This is the view of the house from the ocean side, the scene that would greet someone approaching from the water. This facade is composed almost entirely of glass, in order to allow the best possible view of the sea. However, we can see through the glass to the beams and roof of the interior, a reminder that although the house is made for admiring the elements, it simultaneously offers protection from the outside world. This impression is very clear at night, when the house is lit from within and the roof prevents the light from shining out too far. Then, the house gives off a gentle glow.
Inside the main living space, we are able to take in the truly spectacular panorama of the bay. The large, open plan of the living and dining areas echo the expanses of the water, while the sparse, minimalist décor ensures that the natural world will be the main focus of our attention.
The natural wood interior speaks to the forest hills that loom on the other side of the home, giving the space a simple, rustic feel. The second, lofted floor of the villa houses a bedroom and bathroom that are set off from the living area by a pattern of vertical beams. Again, we see the recurrence of partial concealment. Here, the way in which the second floor is both displayed and hidden allows for privacy while maintaining an open feeling.
Behind the living area is an interior courtyard that holds a reflecting pool; an addition that serves to echo the larger body of water, drawing the sea into the home. To the left of the pool, we catch a glimpse of the ground storey bedroom. From this view, we can also get a better idea of the layout of the lofted floor of the house. In the centre of the second floor, we see an enclosed box, which provides extra privacy for the bathroom, as well as adding an interesting visual element.
The bedroom décor stays in line with the simple, modern interior design of the rest of the home. Compared to the other living spaces, however, the bedroom is quite small, which creates a cosy, nest-like feeling, perfect for drifting off to sleep in front of the ocean.
Protected within its own little rectangle, we find a truly beautiful bathtub. The wooden beams, again in patterns of vertical and horizontal lines, form a snug cocoon where you can soak while facing a view of the ocean.
Finally, before leaving, we turn and see the view of the house from the street. From here, the house looks very different! No longer open to the world, the windows have disappeared in order to help make this home into a peaceful retreat from the busy world.