architecture + water by George Maroussis

 Ever since my first visit as a student, Japanese architecture has always inspired me through its thoughtful consideration of the relationship between nature and the built environment.  As I was looking through my photos from a recent trip to Japan, I was again struck by the powerful examples of this relationship, most notably with respect to water.  Below are some interesting instances of this harmony between structure and water in Japan that I encountered on my past visits. Feel free to share your own favorite examples in the comments:

Ninomaru Palace and gardens at the Nijo Castle in Kyoto

Benesse House Hotel in Naoshima by Tadao Ando

Yokohama waterfront

Image result for nishizawa teshima art museum
Teshima Art Museum  by Ryue Nishizawa

Naoshima Ferry Terminal by SANAA

Kinkaku-ji Temple in Kyoto

Dotonbori District, Osaka

Yokohama Ferry Terminal by FOA

Kinoya Restaurant | Jean de Lessard by Unknown

In Japan, an "Izakaya" is a traditional bar and a place of socialization. Here at Kinoya, the narrow space forces to relate to one another, and creates a space that bonds the occupants.

Wood from local barns are reused as finish for the interior, and it was assembled irregularly and with angularity to help muffle the ambient noise.

Drawings and graffitis catches eye and confirm the urban character of this Japanese Bar. Kakemono banners that are used in the streets also vividly expresses the Japanese tradition.

Read more about this project here.

Another House in the Trees by Michelle Linden

This house in the trees is currently inspiring me on a project we are working on here just north of Seattle. While, the house will be smaller and simpler, we're aiming for a similar relationship to the existing trees. Interesting, I learned from our client that here in the Pacific NW, the average house is closer to large massive trees than anywhere else in the world. So, why not embrace the trees?

K2D via Dezeen

Empty, but not cold by Michelle Linden

As someone who considers themselves a minimalist, I find myself often defending minimalism again accusations of being cold and uninviting. Minimalism doesn't have to be cold, and I think this project by Japanese firm Naruse Inokuma Architects illustrates that point quite clearly. While this house is currently empty, it isn't the least bit cold. The textures of the materials and the softness of the light are in my mind warm and inviting. I think it is a truly lovely project.

Minimal and Cheery by Michelle Linden

I love this project by Osaka-based firm TOFU. I always love a good minimal design, and this is no exeption. However, one thing that makes this project different from other minimal designs is the cheery attitude it gives off. The selection of materials really keeps this home from being overly austere, even though the form is pretty rigid in its simplicity. The variations in the colored siding, the rustic wood flooring, and the gravel/concrete patio all offer visual interest and make me smile. Hope you're all smiling, too!