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Perched upon the enchanting shores of Amami Ōshima Island, Japanese architectural virtuosos, Sakai Architects, have unveiled their latest masterpiece: the Toguchi House. This architectural gem, nestled amidst the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, now cradles a family of five, including an emergency medicine physician and a beautician couple, accompanied by their faithful four-legged companion. Beyond being a mere dwelling, this sanctuary is an escape from the frantic rhythms of urban existence. With a meticulously crafted blend of concrete and timber, the architects have seamlessly woven the lush island panorama into the fabric of the residence while fulfilling the family’s unique requirements. Here, functionality harmonizes effortlessly with the tranquility bestowed by the island’s natural beauty.
Tucked away in a remote corner of the island, where vacation homes and guesthouses are a rarity, this location was not chosen by happenstance. The couple’s heartfelt motivation was to raise their children amidst nature’s embrace, offering the ER doctor a respite from the urban clamor. Set upon a generous 1,000 square-meter expanse, the house finds itself cradled by indigenous flora, gently cascading from the mountains to the sea. This thoughtful placement minimizes its ecological footprint while ensuring it blends seamlessly with its idyllic surroundings.
A Private Residence with a Salon Retreat
The House in Toguchi by Sakai Architects offers a unique perspective on spatial circulation. The two-story residence graces the northwest corner of the plot, with a terrace extending gracefully towards the ocean, a transitional zone between the interior and the exterior. The front door, an unconventional entrance, beckons visitors towards both the living room and the salon, reminiscent of the traditional engawa, an intimate gateway reserved for close friends and family.
Inside the residential wing, the house unfolds across two levels. The first floor houses the functional and communal spaces, boasting living, dining, and kitchen areas that open up to sweeping ocean vistas. Ascending the stairs leads to the sleeping quarters, comprising the master bedroom and children’s rooms. The design thoughtfully fosters connectivity and natural illumination through strategically placed apertures, such as partial wall cutouts and a lofty closet partition. These architectural elements enable family members to cherish each other’s presence throughout the house. Simultaneously, the salon nestles discreetly between the house and the terrace, ensuring customer privacy while framing verdant panoramas.
The House in Toguchi: A Symphony of Concrete and Timber
Situated in a region vulnerable to the capricious nature of typhoons, the House in Toguchi stands unwavering with its fortified concrete framework, guaranteeing structural resilience. A timber roof structure shields against the relentless solar heat, a boon for cost-conscious residents. Perched atop a hillside, the home enjoys year-round natural ventilation, rendering air conditioning obsolete even during the sweltering summer months.
Carefully positioned windows act as artful canvases, framing picture-perfect vistas of the sea and the mountains. These windows, equipped with generous eaves, perform a delicate dance—warding off the harsh sun’s glare while welcoming a symphony of soft, ambient light. To safeguard privacy and shield the interiors from the blazing western sun, the west-facing facade remains discreetly sealed, occasionally pierced by strategically placed skylights to infuse the space with essential daylight.
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