Garden Box

Landscape Architecture: Landscape Niwatan
Location: Hiroshima, Japan

To “work in the forest” was the desire expressed by the tenants of this building, located one kilometer north of Fukuyama Station in Hiroshima Prefecture. The site measures only 10 by 50 meters. In addition to the building and the garden, the brief required parking for ten cars. Therefore, a mori, or forest, was inserted into the architectural hako, or box, as a dense green space. A meandering brook flows through the forest and ends in a pond by the entrance. The garden acts as both a divider of space in the building and a connection device. Openings in the walls are controlled to direct views of the vegetation: the room can be opened to reveal the garden; then, views of the forest are hidden again.

As passersby cannot see the garden from the road, a “lawn box” was created at the site entrance. This hako serves as a parking area for bicycles. Here, an illuminated signboard displays images of satoyama, the wild, grassy landscape at the foothills of the mountain where the mori begins. This gives visitors the feeling of arriving in nature and moving away from the urban landscape. It is an allusion to the Japanese concept of regression to the origin, by which one returns to the space where the human race was originally born.

The owner, who operates a dental clinic on the ground floor, is the only one who uses the mori as a private garden. He sits in the “forest” to relax during his lunch break, and he keeps a fish in the stream through the garden.

Project won 1st prize on Private plots 2010


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