AtSpace Architects Reinterprets A Japanese Courtyard Through The Private Villa Design


Private Villa JUGE by AtSpace Architects is located on a famous traditional tourism spot in Higashiyama Kyoto.

The two-story with two bedrooms and two tatami-rooms wooden villa is composed of generous private space, full sunlight through three individual gardens and a modern interior inspired by Japanese elements. The main purpose of the project is to establish new value by creating a modern architecture incorporating traditional Japanese ethos because the villa is a new building in especially traditional areas in Kyoto where there are already a lot of historical buildings including large temples and small houses. Therefore it is composed of the reinterpretation of Japanese elements with fresh sensibilities avoiding the old traditional method that has remained unchanged.



The eaves height of the facade similar to adjacent houses in front of the street was elected for keeping both consonance with outside and comfortable volume of inside. In contrast to the traditional facade, the sliding door was finished by natural clear paint. The unique conspicuous color of fresh wood indicates the entrance to the unexpected modern inner space. The architecture studio AtSpace Architects conceives the villa as guests home to provide a personal relaxing time, therefore in various places they create some works to express the changes of time and season.



The main courtyard is an important element for the tiny Japanese townhouses, which is covered by white pebbles reflecting the sunlight. The central void with a sculptural staircase provides aesthetic sunlight and shadow which changes by the passage of time through various glasses. One of the windows is set with handmade washi paper, it creates soft sunlight on the inside. The other windows have bubbles and draw an indefinite profile of the tree on the outside garden.



Two kinds of windows are inspired by the Japanese traditional method. The five triangles opening on the entrance imitates Yasaka pagoda, a five-story pagoda build close to the property, which is a historic symbol in the Higashiyama area. It looks like a picture on the wall to welcome the visitors with framing the Japanese garden on the outside. The deep framed window on the second floor is inspired by the Japanese garden method called “Ikedori”. It trims away the view to emphasize the Yasaka pagoda.

In addition, the studio incorporates Japanese elements with light refined sensibility into the villa. It features the exposed wooden structure beams like a townhouse in Kyoto. The gold brass and silver stainless lightings related to each tatami-room interior decoration of the Japanese washi paper. And lastly, the villa features a light staircase made by a mixture of steel structure and ornamented wood with fluting work.



Photography with courtesy of AtSpace Architects

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