Villa Escargot by Takeshi Hirobe Architects
Villa Escargot was designed by Takeshi Hirobe Architects. It is located in Chiba, Japan, just 200 meters away from the ocean.
“How to “wall in” a space for people? I become more conscious about this question when designing a building in an environment that faces nature, rather than one in a residential area. Therefore, since my first visit to the site, I had been thinking that the building itself should stand robustly and independently.
The site is about 200m away from the seashore and is located on a hill. There is a cliff with trees at the back of the site, and a sea horizon of Tokyo Bay at the front. Taking into consideration the relationship with these conditions, a plan was required that is a convenient size for operating as a weekend house, as well as effectively utilizing the large site. The client also desired to have an ocean view from the second floor, and a place that has a framed scenic view with sky. Thus, some level of height-volume was required for the design.
After entering the entrance along a triangular side wall, the outdoor view is temporarily shut off and people find themselves in a gradation of light. There is a folded-plate space that rises towards the second floor, and a semicircular bathroom is placed in the space. By going towards the light while feeling a contrastive structure, a wide-open ocean view enfolds. When entering the living room, the view widens even more in a longitudinal direction to the sky. After the place with a tall framed scenic view, the view become rapidly narrower and then lands beyond the bathroom area once again. The interior sequences are handled as if they are melodies, and the spaces are connected as if accumulating harmonies.
In order to emphasize the continuous “surfaces”, the structure is not exposed and the interior is finished with closed-joint plywood. I believed that choosing this material would emphasize the spatial properties of this building.
The things that define the movement of the continuous triangular shapes are activities, drainage slopes, and a sense of mass when the building is placed on the site. As a result, a shape was created that resembles a spiral shell laid on the ground.”
Photos by Koichi Torimura