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villa U

villa U

Shizuoka, Japan
reinforced concrete + steel
in progress
Satoshi Okada
project team
Daikichi Honma, Junpei Kizu,
Lisa Tomiyama
structural designer
Hirokazu Toki + S3 Associates Inc.
general contractor
Daido Kogyo co.
photo credit:
Hiroshi Ueda
villa U

The owner of Villa U loves fishing marlins: thus he chose a site on the peak of a mountain overlooking onto the Pacific. The broad land-over 66,000 sm- slopes down towards the sea, leaving but a small portion of flat surface at its summit; being it surrounded by a boundless thicket, no clear line marks the lot. The sole remarkable groove in the territory is a winding road along the mountain side: the occasional roar of the car engines breaks the silence and headlights abruptly perturb the darkness.

The clinet peculiarly proposed to conceive here “a timeless architecture”: what does it mean to portray “timelessness” in architecture? We believe such architecture intrinsically bears an unspoken character, namely “to remain unchangingly beautiful overtime”: its pure and simple dignity is yet difficult to pursue.

The volume is two storeys high and it is designed so that only its upper part stands visible from the street level, whereas its lower half is concealed and backed by the mountain ridge; the architecture unveils itself when observed from the ocean side. The round wall seemed to be the most appropriate as reference to the curvy terrain lines of the coastal landscape, which smoothly lead the view towards the ocean. On the other hand, the wall is a protective enclosure for the villa, shielding noise and lights that might occur on the road.

In continuity with the street, the driveway gradually sinks into the ground up to a garage on the lower level; from there on a passage gives direct access to the private floor, where bedrooms are, while a path crossing an enclosed garden leads to the main entrance on the upper floor. Parallely, guests can reach the main entrance from the outdoor car park, passing through the gate.

Consistently, bedrooms are located downstairs and are strongly connected with the terrace that expands towards the ocean as if the rooms were carved out of the ridge. In the master bedroom a flush plane slopes upwards, towards the mountain, so that it reflects sunlight into a comfortable above-ground space. When in the living room or on the adjacent terrace, one could simultaneously enjoy a panoramic view of the Pacific as well as a glance on the hortus conclusus.


Text by Satoshi Okada

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