Located in the center of Fukuyama City, Japan, and designed by UID Architects, the Courthouse in the City is a uniquely designed urban home that features an inner tree garden in the center of the house rather than on the outside. This design came about because of the close proximity of the neighboring buildings on three sides and the closeness of the road on the fourth. In order for the homeowners to enjoy a landscaped view, UID Architects chose to create the landscaping centrally so that every room within the house could enjoy a view of trees rather then buildings.
Even though Courthouse in the City is sandwiched between other buildings, the trees that grow up and through the house offer a sense of nature that would otherwise simply not be there.
From the outside, Courthouse in the City projects a private facade to the street which is not even a sidewalk away from the house and although the neighboring homes are as close as close can be, there is still enough room to park a car on one side.
A very narrow strip of vegetation is planted along either side of the car port.
The entrance to the home is the only void within the east face of the house.
Inside the entrance is where the magic begins. Deep concrete planters filled with plants rise up on either side of a hall. The trees are in the center planter and reach for the sky through the void in the ceiling above. Windows that run the length of the outer planters offer views to and from the next level up.
Past the garden a door leads to a hallway with a bathroom and Tatami room on one side and a stairwell on the other.
A large landing area looks both to the garden below and to the tree canopies above.
Stairs continue up to the main volume where a mezzanine takes you to the kitchen.
On the other side of the stairs windows overlook a row of small trees at the back of the house.
On the main level the trees literally take center stage.
How beautiful to have a view like this right in the center of your home!
Display cubbies are built into the mill-work that surrounds the glassed courtyard.
The exposed ceiling joists used throughout the home continue over the courtyard.
This sectional showcases how each of the split-levels has a personal connection to the garden.
UID Architects was able to create a park like atmosphere in the heart of a busy city and still maintain complete privacy for the homeowners by this unique design.
Photography by Hiroshi Ueda
While Courthouse in the City was built before the trees where introduced into the design, many homes built around trees showcase trees that pre-existed on the site. Either way, the addition of trees in a home’s environment is the ultimate way of bringing the outdoors inside, especially when trees encased in glass travel right through the main living spaces.