TADASHI YOSIMURA ARCHITECTS is a Nara, Japan-based architecture office founded by Tadashi Yoshimura (born in Japan) and Yihsuan Lin (born in Taiwan) in 2006. We work in a former pharmacy, an old-fashioned traditional Japanese townhouse built about 200 years ago. We are now doing several projects, residence, renovation, town-planning, etc, utilizing local materials and traditional skills for our creation. Besides, not only in Japan but also in Korea and in Taiwan we have proposed several projects that architecture is as part of landscape, utilizing local building techniques and materials.
This project is the renovation of a traditional wooden town house in Nara, Japan, built about 200 years ago, for a young couple and their children.This old house consists of several small buildings, and there are several spot gardens, and passage gardens between buildings.However, taking no thought of interaction between buildings and gardens, repairs have been carried out on numerous occasions, and the interior has also been redecorated with new materials. Except for the main structure and façade, the original model can no longer be seen. ‘Void space’ carved out the old house, taking out new materials. Void space means the new large space turned into a porch by opening all sliding window panels, and the new small earthen floor space, connected existing spot gardens and passage gardens, facilitated lighting and ventilation. Making the new space, we reuse materials from old house, to the extent possible.By inserting this void space, it connects the new with the old, and a revival is achieved through a skilful fusion between buildings and gardens. We reuse structural members and old mud wall from old house as structural reinforcements and heat storage materials. And new outside materials are planned to be able to reuse in the future, binding with wedge. (photo by Hitoshi Kawamoto)
Wood block House
The house is designed for an elderly married couple, and their grand children that occasionally stay with them.The site is located in a housing district developed 30 years ago that kept the natural land form. Around the site, we can see beautiful retaining wall made of granite. I try to extend the exterior topography to the interior of the building.If day light diminishes, the shape of the structural shear wall that creates a relationship to the site’s stone wall , is projected onto the glass façade.Similar to retaining stone walls, this wall is best play equipment that kids enjoy to clime, pass under the hole , sit, and see distant scenery.
A Structural shear wall system of wooden blocks
This structural shear wall consists of ship-shaped wooden blocks. These blocks can be easily stacked without the help of skilled workers, and can be disassembled and assembled in different location if necessary. (photo by Hitoshi Kawamoto)
TADASHI YHOSIMURA INTERVIEW WITH j.j.magazine GRAND HYATT SEOUL
1. Please Introduce ‘TADASHI YOSIMURA ARCHITECTS’ To Us.
TADASHI YOSIMURA ARCHITECTS is a Nara, Japan-based architecture office founded by Tadashi Yoshimura and Yihsuan Lin in 2006. We work in a former pharmacy, an old-fashioned traditional Japanese townhouse built about 200 years ago. We are now doing several projects, residence, renovation, town-planning, etc, utilizing local materials and traditional skills for our creation. Besides, not only in Japan but also in Korea and in Taiwan we have proposed several projects that architecture is as part of landscape, utilizing local building techniques and materials.
2. What Is Most Important To You When It Come To Building House?
First, residents feel safe, relax, rich, happy. Second, building connects to environment and nature.
3. The ‘WOOD BLOCK HOUSE’ Series Jump Off the Page. What Motivated You To Start This Project?
We are interested in integration traditional and contemporary. In Japan there are a lot of beautiful wooden buildings utilizing traditional wooden construction skills. But nowadays because of speed and cost, most houses are built without traditional techniques.
4. What Were You Trying to Portray Through ‘WOOD BLOCK HOUSE’ Project?
We were trying to integrate traditional skills and modern materials, creating new wooden structural system on limited budged, speedy. This structural wall consists of several wooden blocks that can be easily stacked without the help of skilled workers, and be disassembled and assembled in different location if necessary in the future. Now we try to apply this wooden block system to fast shelter after earthquakes.
5. Do You Believe That Architecture Could Be a Vital Element to change Social Environment?
I think that architecture is one of several important factors to change social environment. Today resources are limited, so we have to be aware of impact of architecture on nature and environment.
6. Building Nowadays Are Sky-high and Gigantic. Curved and Warped Lines Exude Beauty Whereas Candidly Straight Lines Loose Charm. Populated By Intimidating and Capacious Buildings Are The Urban Setting of Today. It Looks More Like a Construction Site Than Architecture?
It is important that architecture connects to its context. Not understanding the context makes ‘architecture’ just only ‘building’.
7. Could The Height of a Building Become a Standard To Distinguish Social Hierarchy?
In our time, not competition for impact of form but harmony with environment becomes a standard.
8. Recent Architecture Seldom Feels As If Is Built Not for the People but for the City’s Aesthetic. People Should Come First, And It Should Be Architecture for the People, However It Seems More like the Space is Built and People Are Forced into That Space. The Reason Why I wanted to Interview You Was Because You Seemed like a Person Who Would Pursue Humanism Architecture. Shaw I Understand Your Architecture as Humanish Architecture?
We always attach importance to dialogue. Dialogue makes projects better.
9. Architecture Environment in Japan Seems to be a lot different From That in Korea, Is There an Architecture Style That is Spot-Lighted Currently in Japan ?
there are so many architecture styles. Many of them are interested in sustainability.
10. What is The Definition of Architecture If you May.
Architecture is not just only building but the whole landscape including all environment of the building.
11. In This Modern Setting, What Would be a Healthy Architecture?
Healthy architecture connects to environment and nature, is built as a part of landscape, utilizing local materials and local building techniques, where we always feel nature.
12. Lastly, Are you an Architecture Who Follows Current Trends, or Are you an Architecture Who Creates Newness with Your Own Will, Regardless of Current Trends?
I am not interested in current trends. More important thing is how new space, new value of lifestyle can be created.（2011.12.21）