Location: Sendagaya, Tokyo

Year: 2015 Spring

Area: 610.5 Sqm

Contractor: Takashimaya Space Create

Status: Completed

Photo: Hideki Makiguchi

Text: Naoki Kotaka

The exemplary principle of historical Japanese architecture and gardening is the emphasis on the sensory and spiritual aspects of the architectural experience, from the precise yet simple composition and the ‘presence’ of the materials to the handling of scale and the effect of light. The most prominent example is perhaps Katsura Imperial Villa and its tea houses. From the main villa, the visitors stroll through the carefully composed arrangements of trees, rocks, water features, moss, and bushes, and enter the tea house; a serene, contemplative environment isolated from the world of the noise and haste – an interior space of great intimacy within which to sit, to rest, to observe the surrounding garden.
The concept for the new museum restaurant has been to reinterpret the principle of historical Japanese architecture and gardening; to create a ‘sky’ tea house. There a ‘river’ of the white oak floors, resembles the raked white gravel of Karesansui: dry garden. The placed within it are islands of earthy counters and service tables clad in concrete with various pebble inlays.

They echo natural forms like the igneous volcanic rocks that have been fundamental components of dry gardens. The vertically articulated interior walls are clad in hot rolled steel sheets at their original factory size, with organic texture. Quirks and anomalies arising from the process of metalworking present itself as if they are streams of water, without imitating them. The simple and unadorned interior space acts as a perfectly discreet backdrop to the view – Shakkei: borrowed scenery of an immersive view over the capital. The mastery of historical tea house has been resurrected, providing distinct moments of intimacy within the vibrancy of metropolis.