Hansha Reflection House is a specific residence for a specific site, set to address the ephemeral moments of the surroundings with structural ingenuity and material sublimity. Situated at the entrance of Misakimizube Koen, one of the picturesque parks fronting a lake and flanked by Sakura trees, the house was conceived to be an object with the environment. The programmatic zones of Public, Service and Private spatially organised the house into 3 distinct zones with further punctuation of the main massing with the Landscape element; providing spaces for the courtyard and roof deck. This base form was further chiseled with structure, daylight/ventilation and viewpoint concerns.
65% of low rise Japanese houses are constructed out of timber, a material that has the strongest weight to strength ratio amongst other building materials like concrete and steel. Using timber from a renewable source, coupled with building technology that utilised a hybrid of traditional mortise and tenon joint system with steel bracketing, this house was able to push the ubiquitous “boxed” building envelope for timber residential construction in Japan.
The solution to push the Public program to the upper level was obvious with the need to accommodate parking for 3 cars. In addition, this offered an elevated scenic view of the park by having living/dining/kitchen at the second level. The extensive 3.2 m wooden cantilever was unusual with the norm capped at 1.5 m. The initial structural concept of using a truss floor progressed to the final structural solution; using an elegant inspiration from bridge construction and book shelf bracketing. Further reinforcement of the structure was made in the courtyard wall to reduce eccentricity of built form and thus lateral movements during earthquakes.The outer form reflected the inner structure of the building, creating opportunities for expression of inclined surfaces. These further expressed their responses to rainwater drainage and the sublime reflection of the surrounding landscape. In order to bring views of the exterior Sakura into the dining space, an asymmetrical window ledge was purposefully built, providing a material continuity from exterior to interior and framing the picturesque view.
The idea of “Reflection” was multifarious and became a series of unfolded meanings; exterior reflection of surrounding, interior reflection of surroundings, introspective reflection spaces and reflection of the house structure.The landscape falls into three areas, the front yard, the courtyard and the roof deck. The front yard accommodates parking for three cars and becomes the entrance frame for the house. The connecting tissue to the park relies on the structurally evolved facade that visually associates with it and uses similar ground paving material. The courtyard, an intimate private garden forms part of the environmental funnel to dissipate hot air during summer. This space further anchors the master bedroom, 1-tatami introspective room, and double volume library. The roof deck, the pinnacle of the house further heighten one’s sense of place with its surroundings and provides the perfect viewing platform for both Hanami (Sakura) and Hanabi (Fireworks) festivals.
Hansha Reflection House condenses the energies on site to formulate a dwelling that looks back at the surroundings with a slight twist.
Studio SKLIM is an international design agency deriving bespoke solutions in the fields of furniture, interiors, landscape, architecture and urbanism. Kevin Lim founded the Singapore-based studio in 2010 to engage these areas. With extensive working experiences in Europe and Asia, every design led gesture is imbued with the cultural sensibilities accumulated of those regions.
Studio SKLIM firmly believes that design opportunities are inherent, waiting to be unleashed or given a new perspective. The organisation of “raw materials” not limited to the form of environmental data, existing typographical conditions, cultural peculiarities and technological limits form part of a platform from which our design process initiates these extractions. Analysis on our fast changing contemporary life demands a rethink and reorganisation of existing spatial parameters, thus making conceptual clarity and contemporary investigative research instrumental to the design process of our work. Our design ethos feeds on this rigor.
From banality breeds creativity and each project stems from its own unique set of pragmatics and constraints. We are neither conformists nor idealists but prefer to engage the in-between boundaries of producing spaces that shouts “pragmatics”, with an additional dose of our muses. We believe that the most basics of design solutions are sometimes able to conjure the most complex relationships with the environment. We embark on design journeys with our consultants and clients, as a collective experience to explore market demands, environment sustainability, design technology and socio-cultural landscapes with the hope of creating built environments that resonate with our shared positions.
Studio SKLIM work encompasses all scales from bespoke furniture pieces to architecture projects. The studio has completed a wine bistro right in the centre of Marina Centre, Singapore and our first built work in Japan, a detached house in Nagoya in 2011. Amongst Studio SKLIM’s latest completed work include the office headquarters of a beauty enterprise and a co-working space, both on the fringe of Singapore’s city centre. Though in its infancy, the studio’s work has since received wide press coverage in international publishers such as Frame, Domus and Gestalten. The work of the office has recently been selected to feature in Loft Publication’s latest book entitled “Star Interior Designers”, Frame’s “Night Fever 3”, Gestalten’s “The Sky’s the limit – Applying Radical Architecture“ Atlas of World Architecture” amongst others. The firm’s recent work has been selected for an exhibition at the Design Exchange in Toronto, Canada in late 2012. Studio SKLIM’s notable clients have included The Fullerton Hotel (Singapore), Estetica (Singapore) and proposals for brands such as Nokia.
AA Dipl (UK), BA Arch (NUS)
Born in Singapore, Kevin Lim is the founding principal of Studio SKLIM. Kevin Lim graduated with the AA Diploma from the prestigious Architectural Association in London. His formative years were chiseled by one of Singapore’s pioneer architects, Mr William Lim. He has worked extensively in London, Singapore and Beijing with various international practices including the Dutch architectural practice, the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA where was a key member of the Singapore Scotts Tower project amongst others. His past experiences in the Asia Pacific region include high-rise luxury residences, mixed-use developments and office buildings. Kevin Lim writes about architecture / urban issues and has contributed articles to Singapore Architects and other regional publications. Kevin and the studio’s recent work have been selected for an exhibition at the Design Exchange in Toronto, Canada in late 2012.
Location: Japan Design architect: Studio SKLIM Client: confidential
Program: 2 storey detached house with courtyard and roof deck
Key personnel: Kevin Lim
Collaborators: Machiko Nakamura
Federico mira (3d visualization)
Builder: Sakae advanced housing technology
Structure: Kes system headquarters shelter
Photography: Jeremy San / Studio Sklim
Time period: 2010 – 2011
Special thanks to v2com.biz