I was happy to finally take a trip out to Chochikukyo in the town of Oyamazaki in Kyoto Prefecture. This one is off the radar for foreign visitors but should be on any designer or architects list of places to visit in the Kansai region of Japan. In my opinion the techniques used here are relevant even today and have definitely stood the test of time.
This property was designed by Koji Fujii, the second son of a wealthy brewer who later went on to become an established architect. He purchased this land in the 1920’s and decided to use it to exhibit environmentally-inspired improvements on the traditional Japanese dwelling. Thanks to his travels through the US and Europe, which was surely rare at the time, he was able to impressively integrate the best of Western and Eastern standards, using traditional techniques in simple and functional ways to construct a family home that is mind-numbingly detailed.
Small shoji doors on the top of the doors to let air circulate, even pipes were installed underneath the property to let air flow from the mountain path below to the main room offering a layer of cool air in the warmer months. He even thought about the carpentry and the small objects, designing all the furniture and pottery for his home. Koji liked to work closely with the different craftsmen who made them to learn how these skills could be applied in a modern and forward thinking way. There were definitely no shortcuts!
Unfortunately, I am not able to showcase the interior of this property, something which should be experienced for yourself, but it was great fun photographing the exterior with the big glass windows and the nice contrast between the Japanese garden and the modernity of the structure sitting below. It fades beautifully in to this natural setting. Definitely reserve a visit on their website if you’re ever in Kyoto or Osaka via the link below to learn more about this historic piece of architecture and the importance it has had on Japan’s architectural scene.