Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

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Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

More from architect Hironaka Ogawa: the two trees felled to make way for this house extension in Kagawa, Japan, were reinstalled inside the living room (+ slideshow).

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

The two-storey extension branches out into the garden of the 35-year-old family house to provide a residence for the client's daughter and her husband.

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

The two trees stood in the way of construction and had to be removed beforehand, but Hironaka Ogawa was concerned about the connection they had to the family's history. "These trees looked over the family for 35 years," he explains.

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

The architect decided to keep the trees intact, dry them out and insert them into a double-height living and dining room. The floor was sunken just below ground level to ensure enough height to fit them in.

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

"Utilising these trees and creating a new place for the client became the main theme for the design," says Ogawa, and explains that the family asked a Shinto priest to perform an exorcism on the trees as they were cut down.

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

Entitled Garden Tree House, the residence also contains a mezzanine loft that squeezes in alongside the trees. Bathrooms are tucked away below it.

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

Walls and ceilings are painted white, allowing the yellow and brown shades of the trees to stand out.

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

Trees were also the centrepiece of a wedding chapel that Hironaka Ogawa designed, which we featured on Dezeen this week. See more architecture from Japan on Dezeen.

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

Photography is by Daici Ano.

Here's a full project description from Hironaka Ogawa:


Garden Tree House

This is an extension project on a thirty-five year-old house for a daughter and her husband. A Zelkova tree and a Camphor tree stood on the site since the time the main house was build thirty-five years ago.

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

Removing these trees was one of the design requirements because the new additional building could not be built if these trees remained. When I received the offer for the project, I thought of various designs before I visited the site for the first time. However, all my thoughts were blown away as soon as I saw the site in person. The two trees stood there quite strongly.

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

I listen to the stories in detail; the daughter has memories of climbing these trees when she was little. These trees looked over the family for thirty-five years. They coloured the garden and grew up with the family. Therefore, utilising these trees and creating a new place for the client became the main theme for the design.

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

In detail, I cut the two trees with their branches intact. Then I reduced the water content by smoking and drying them for two weeks. Thereafter, I placed the trees where they used to stand and used them as main structural columns in the center of the living room, dining room, and kitchen.

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

In order to mimic the way the trees used to stand, I sunk the building an additional 70 centimetres down in the ground. I kept the height of the addition lower than the main house while still maintaining 4 metre ceiling height.

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

By the way, the smoking and drying process was done at a kiln within Kagawa prefecture. These two trees returned to the site without ever leaving the prefecture.

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

The client asked a Shinto priest at the nearby shrine to remove evil when the trees were cut. Nobody would go that far without a love and attachment to these trees.

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

When this house is demolished and another new building constructed by a descendant of the client hundreds of years from now, surely these two trees will be reused in some kind of form.

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

Above: site plan - click for larger image

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

Above: floor plan - click for larger image

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

Above: cross section - click for larger image

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

Above: long section - click for larger image

Garden Tree House by Hironaka Ogawa

Above: exploded isometric - click for larger image