Popularised by the ancient Romans and a mainstay of classical architecture, there are few architectural features as dramatic, imposing and graceful as the humble arch. It remains relevant today, for example as a way to inject drama and dynamism, as architect Hata Tomohiro demonstrates to great effect in this charming house in Kobe in Japan.
This long, thin house is in a city centre location on a sloping site. Even though the slope had been levelled, the architect wanted to create the impression that the inhabitants are living on a slope. The solution is a structure based on rectangular volumes of different sizes, stacked on top of each other like a pyramid. This offers interesting possibilities for organising the internal space as well as connecting the indoor and outdoor areas as rooms lead onto terraces in a seamless flow. Elegant arches are used throughout the building to frame the openings and provide a visual connection for the various levels, resulting in a house which feels uplifting and very much in tune with the landscape.
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