Tomohiro Hata Architect and Associates built a family house around a planted central courtyard in pursuit of peace and quiet for a dense urban site in Hyogo, Japan.
Inspired by the 17th century Katsura Imperial Villa, the building inverts its form by focusing views inwards and providing sanctuary from the bustle of the surrounding. This resulted in a new form in which a shallow, veranda space that connects and supports the rich inside/outside relationships extends in a three-dimensional circle, looping around.
The interior garden is surrounded by the principal living spaces: bedroom, living room, kitchen, dining room, bathroom and washroom. Study rooms and a playroom occupy the floor above. Internally, all the floors and walls are lined in plywood, with large windows and full-height openings facing onto the courtyard. A sequence of walkways, stairs and generous terraces, partly open to the sky, provide circulation between levels.
The complexity of this arrangement gives the building the illusion of being larger than it is. Like European Modernists Bruno Taut, Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, Hata is inspired by the 17th century Japanese palace and its harmonious relationship between architecture and landscape. Similarly, Loop Terrace offers a direct connection to nature and employs exposed timber within a limited material palette. However, unlike the imperial villa, which cultivates views out, Loop Terrace inverts this with views orientated inwards.