Forest in the Space is a home designed by Hiroyuki Arima to be as much a part of the landscape as the landscape was designed to be part of the home. Located in Niigata, Japan, the trees where collected from a nearby mountain and have been planted in such a way that the house design and landscape will not reach their final design for 10 years.
This concept of landscape design being an integral part of a home’s design is a tradition of the area that has been pursued for 300 years. Connecting a home and landscape has more to do with just the design of the home and the planting of trees, it also has to do with the 4 seasons and the moon’s cycle and Hiroyuki Arima has included all these components in Forest in the Space.
Forest in the Space was designed to synchronize not just living and working but also to welcome visitors and as such the design of the driveway is as integral as the living spaces within.
The home is broken into several volumes, each designed with a view of the moon.
Each volume is surrounded first with rock and then dirt with the exception of a grassy knoll.
The grassy knoll has a direct connection to the architecture as though the structure is slicing through it.
The social zone is contained within a cubular volume whose roof and facade extend out and over a terrace and includes the unusual detail of semi spherical cut outs within two sides of the extended facade.
The third side of the extended facade has a more conventional profile detail that continues the length of the volume.
It is as though the semi-spherical cut outs are emulating the tree canopies that surround it.
A floor to ceiling operable glazing is fitted into half the exterior wall that faces the terrace.
The glazing slides and stacks into the closed portion of the wall. When open, the living and dining areas have an uninterrupted connection to the outdoors and its surrounding landscape.
Behind the closed portion of the wall is the kitchen and while it does not have its own view to the garden, a window up high allows natural daylight and moonlight to flood the space.
The semi-spherical cut outs frame the view of the trees and mountains from the terrace.
Hallways travel on the perimeter of the semidetached volumes, creating a connection to each zone and to the views beyond.
The interior of Forest in the Space is mostly white and the white rocks that surround the perimeter of the structure create that first step of connectivity to the landscape.
Even the stairwell is a white on white color scheme.
With the exception of the wood floor in the living, dining and kitchen area, the rest of Forest in the Space showcases white ceilings, walls and floors.
The bedrooms are fitted with windows up high to enjoy the views of the moon.
In Japan, creating a connectivity to a natural landscape is not always easy to do as sometimes a home is sited so close to surrounding buildings that there is no space to build trees on the site, but sometimes an architect will “think inside the box” and design an inner tree garden.