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Koshino House

Ashiya, Japan
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The house, by Tadao Ando for the designer Koshin, is a veritable maze of lights and shadows. Like Luis Barragan, the architect seeks to reconcile the tenets of international modernism with tradition and landscape, in this case, Japanese. So, Koshino House is an example of contemporary architecture built in two parallel wings that barely interrupt the landscape.

The use of concrete, simplicity and treatment of light, are typical features of Japanese architecture.


Koshino House is located in Ashiya, a small town located between Osaka and Kobe, two major urban centers in Japan. It is built in a suburban, residential area in the hills of the city. Located on a mountain-side and densely wooded, Koshino House is embedded in the ground, with irregular shaped contrasts that work strongly with the sharpness of the geometric shapes of the building.

The effect is achieved through a strong slope, the visitor comes from above and before entering can see the roof of the house.


The house is organized into two parallel bodies, joined by an underground passage which defines a central courtyard. The body contains a shorter living room of double height, while the longest wing houses a number of bedrooms. The study is in the form of a crescent, adjacent to the living room, was added later, in sharp contrast with the composite bodies already in existence.


The entry of this house is level. From here the living room is located down in a double height room. In one wing parallel to the building, connected through a corridor which is almost underground, a number of halls and rooms for children can be accessed.

The entire house is structured as a Japanese garden around a series of scenic backgrounds, designed to boost the awareness of nature. The two big openings in the living room offer views of the steep slopes, with trees and hills in the distance. In 1983, Ando was asked to add a study. The addition is totally underground north of the room, the containment wall accounts for the circumference.

Although this house is often linked to minimalism it can be better understood in the context of archetypal forms of temples and aesthetic scintoisti reduced by Zen Buddhism.


Another factor worth noting is that there are no decorative elements. The view provided by the wide openings along with the shadows cast by the narrow openings and skylights, and the texture of the concrete both combined, operate as the only ornamentation.

Smooth Concrete

All the walls are made of smooth concrete and are free of ornamentation and in their natural form. Ando used this material because it is a way to admit light and wind within the walls and create a sense of serenity and wide open spaces. Another reason to use this material was due to industrialization and technological resources.

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  1. Wikiarquitectura
mariathuroczy, June 19th, 2013
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