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Riverside Villa, Kyoto

This home has a very simple layout -the first floor is mostly the guest area, the second floor has the main bedroom area and the third floor has the Living / Dining area in one large open volume with glazing at both ends. The glazed roof-hatch opens to the roof garden above…From the street there is a private courtyard behind the broad timber gates, landscaped with young and old trees. The fireproof timber siding has been stained individually to create an elegant but understated street facade, contrasted with the angular galvanized steel work.


The interior is stripped back and low-maintenance, masculine. The ceilings are exposed steel form-work, the floors are exposed concrete as are the benches and basins. The stairs and handrails are raw steel. Standard elements of the ‘domestic cosmetic’ are absent. The bathrooms are glazed, and the North facade (facing the river) is all glass - privacy is not so sacred in this house. The art works are painted straight on the walls (and windows) by local artists commissioned directly by the client. They loved the idea of 21 st century cave drawings…. For the foreign clients this was a kind of turn-key project, with the architects involved in many of the steps such as site select and purchase, setting up accounts for utilities, buying white-ware and furniture etc etc. (They said it was actually easier for them to build in Japan than in California...)

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